London - Consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers will miss out on £600m in 2007 alone because they are failing to connect with women, according to the 'Lady Geek' study published today from Saatchi & Saatchi. This amount equates to Australia's wine exports to the UK in one year.
Thirty-five per cent of female internet users polled said they would increase their spending on consumer electronics if marketers and retailers thought harder about how they approach them and offered more guidance in stores and on e-commerce sites.
A staggering one in two women said they walk out of shops and leave websites without buying anything because they're unable to find what they want, representing a huge opportunity for brand owners and retailers who are prepared to rethink their approach.
One third of women do not feel confident enough to ask questions in stores with one respondent describing electronics retailers as reeking of a "strong scent of man".
Almost one in three women do not consider technology advertising relevant to them and the majority of women feel disillusioned that brand owners and retailers don't understand what they care about and don't view them as a relevant group of customers.
Qualitative feedback further suggested that women dread shopping for consumer electronics with one opinion leader commenting that, "technology companies are in the same place the car industry was 20 years ago".
Almost one in two (43%) women go shopping for consumer electronics without a specific brand or product in mind representing a massive opportunity for retailers and brand owners to reap the financial rewards if they effectively market to this group of women.
Only nine per cent of respondents think it's important that their gadgets look feminine. This is supported by qualitative feedback from opinion leaders and consumers who feel "patronised" and "offended" by the abundance of pink products available at the expense of the sleek and beautifully designed and packaged products they want to see.
Belinda Parmar, planning director at Saatchi & Saatchi and author of the report, said: "There's a real opportunity here for brands and retailers in the consumer electronics sector to target women. This group of women told us loud and clear that they do not want diamante encrusted mobile phones and baby pink DAB radios. Our aim is to get clients to think differently about how they develop, distribute and market products to women."
The purpose of the study is to equip Saatchi & Saatchi clients with the insights to allow them better penetrate the "Lady Geek" market.
Parmar continued: "Although more women than men aged 24-35 now play computer games, you wander round a computer games aisle in most shops and you'll soon realise why women are so turned off by the way they're approached. This report will help brand owners and retailers understand how they can capitalise on this profitable group."
Dr. Elisabeth Kelan from the Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business at London Business School said:
"There are many myths and assumptions about women and technology. We know from academic research that many of those myths do not hold true when put under scrutiny and that technologies are gendered by design and connotation. "Lady Geek" is an important piece of work as it shows ways to challenge this gendering of technology by recognising women as viable consumers of technical products."
The report uncovers a series of common myths around the way women interact with technology. The myths are exploded with insights that challenge manufacturers and retailers perceptions, steering them towards the path to unlocking this lucrative market.
Saatchi & Saatchi clients in the UK include Comet, Toshiba, Sony Ericsson and T-Mobile.
On average women spend £321 on personal technology every year according to the report amounting to a market currently worth £15bn.
Find out more about the world of Lady Geek through Belinda's blog site at http://ladygeek.org.uk