Move over millennials: The most influential demographic is ‘mass market women’

Mar 11, 2019 | Ads, Content marketing

The highly valuable influence of mass market women is misunderstood, and it eclipses the two most talked-about advertising targets, Millennials and ABs, according to new research.

TI Media, the publisher behind household magazine brands Woman, Woman’s Own and Good to Know, has unveiled the results of its flagship ‘Heart of Britain’ research for 2019, which reveals a number of newfound insights about the audience commonly labelled as ‘mass-market women’ (MMW).

In terms of audience size, ‘Heart of Britain’ dwarf the two most talked-about advertising targets, millennials (16,397,000) and ABs (14,266,000), at 26,259,00, with women making up 14m of this figure.

Yet this group have increasingly felt neglected and misunderstood. They also collectively earn and spend more than any one demographic group, and are far more valuable than advertisers think.

The survey, which included a national representation of 3,000, revealed a number of key findings and highlighted four broad pillars which underpin these women’s lives: their Strength in the Community; Economic Power; Savviness; and being the ‘Original Influencer’ in the home and beyond, holding the purse strings for decisions surrounding cosmetics, clothes, household, tech, holidays/travel and cars.

“Traditionally known as mass-market women or simply ‘housewives’, we wanted to recognise what this often-misunderstood audience looks like in Britain in 2019 and found a confident, resilient, capable and downright heroic group who feel increasingly marginalised,” says Sam Finlay, chief revenue officer at TI Media. “The insight gained from this research will not only help advertisers better understand this audience, but it will also help guide our editorial forward in the months ahead.”

The ‘Heart of Britain’ spend intelligently, rather than purely cutting costs for costs’ sake. Brand trust plays a big part, and respondents noted that they’d rather pay a little more for a brand name to ensure quality, and interrogate deals that seem too good to be true. Online grocery shopping is taking a back seat to physically visiting a store, and brand loyalty is more about the product than the store itself. So, whilst shopping online is still popular, combining it with the in-store experience is key for respondents.

Household purchasing decisions might be made jointly, but this audience influences these purchases and brings ideas to the home, finding them first in media such as magazines (including advertising), word of mouth and social media. As the sole decision maker on purchasing cosmetics (86%), household goods (59%) and tech (54%), they look to their magazines and friends for inspiration and recommendations.

Respondents do engage with a variety of media on a daily basis but it’s magazines that continue to play an important role in respondent’s lifestyles, from using them in their downtime to gleaning recommendations for travel and fashion, as well as enjoying the emotional journey they take them on.

The primary reason for purchasing a magazine is to relax and unwind, with 20% of ‘Heart of Britain’ habitually buying a magazine once a week, and 34% up to three times a month. Sharing magazines also enhances their sense of community, an important pillar to this audience.

Crucially for marketeers, they see magazine advertising as part of the experience and appreciate that the right advert adds value to their consumer journey.

The survey, in partnership with Differentology, was conducted with a stakeholder workshop, followed by filmed ethnography and peer-to-peer semi-structured research groups and a 20-minute online survey to 3,000 respondents.

Key findings

  • In terms of audience size, ‘Heart of Britain’ dwarf the two most talked-about advertising targets, millennials (16,397,000) and ABs (14,266,000), at 26,259,00, with women making up 14m of this figure.
  • Collectively, this audience also earn more than any one demographic group with £350bn total income versus £324bn for ABs and £191bn for millennials.
  • 45% say Instagram “is of no importance to me”, they are happy and confident with Whatsapp, and they prefer to be more of an observer on Facebook.
  • 38% of MMW are influenced by clothes/shoes/accessories adverts, compared to 32% of niche women (ABs). Food and drink adverts sway 38% of MMW, compared to 29% of niche women, and 36% of MMW are influenced by cosmetics and personal care adverts, as opposed to 32% of niche women.
  • 67% use magazines to keep up-to-date on gossip, compared to 56% using television and 65% using social media. Hot topics include women’s health at 66% (compared to television at 49%), and fashion and beauty at 71% (compared to 57% via social media).
  • 20% purchase a magazine at least once a week, with 34% purchasing between one and three times a month.

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