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‘Indie Women’: Most Powerful, Unheard-of Demo

February 27, 2013 – Marketers spend a lot to reach women, but are they ignoring one of the fastest-growing demographics versus both men and women? The population of so-called “Indie Women”—27 or older, not married, not living with a partner and without kids in tow—constitutes a third of all women, and wields a disproportionate purse power, and it’s growing fast.

NBCUniversal’s Integrated Media group is promulgating statistics, trends, and expert opinions about this sub-group in a 10-minute video, “Indie Women,” part of a bi-annual series under the group’s Curve Films banner. The Integrated Media group has been showing the film at conferences, other marketing and media events, and at pop-up “Curve Salons” in major markets, including in Detroit this week.

Some of the group’s findings, detailed in the film: there are some 31 million “Indie Women” constituting about a third of all adult women; they tend to have more disposable income than other women, spending $1 trillion each year—$22 billion on vehicles (five times more than independent men), $20 billion on entertainment, and $50 billion on food; they over-index for television by 12%, watching 15% to 64% more late night programs (on NBCUniversal, at least) than average women; and they are multi-screen users.

They are also more socially engaged online both as info seekers and as advocates, being 6% more likely to pay attention to online consumer ratings and reviews, and 12% more likely to say their friends ask them for health and nutrition advice. And they are 10% more likely to say they are pretty much first among friends to shop at a new store.

And they are successful, being the first generation of women to reverse the ceiling in school and at work. They are 57% of undergrads, 59% of masters degree holders, and 52% of managerial positions.

Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, SVP, NBCUniversal Integrated Media, tells Marketing Daily that the group chose to study this demographic because the population is large, the people representing it are big, discretionary spenders; and the group is underrepresented, generally, in demographic analyses. “We felt that Indie Women are less profiled than other women, yet there are more of her than there are married moms, so it’s a bit of an undiscovered marketing opportunity in general,” she says. “And it’s the fastest-growing demographic.” She points out that the population of this U.S. demographic segment will reach 50 million by 2035.

The Indie Women film, which premiered at NBCU’s “Power of the Purse” conference for the marketing and ad community in Los Angeles, includes interviews with representatives of the demographic, and with people like SuChin Pak at DailyCandy, Toby Barlow of JWT, Claudia Cahill at OMD, and NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg. A couple of major brands get the spotlight too, for having done a good job of reaching out to the demographic—Ford Motor and jeweler De Beers.

The film suggests that Indie Women are more likely to dine, entertain, buy apparel, and do more decorating at home than other women. And they are more apt to use online programs like AirBnB “in ways that let them fill in gaps to locating services and building community,” Balsam-Schwaber says.

To read full article on MediaPost, click here.

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