Essay about Women and Decision Making

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Abstract:

Women are most powerful consumers in the world, as they control almost 80 percent of the household spending. No doubt when it comes to individual buying, women are the sole decision makers. But they also act as great influencers, when it comes to buying decision of the family. Economic dependence, improvement in education and awareness, work oriented lifestyles, changing social norms, increased participation in the workforce and society have led to an enhancement in the role of women in the family purchase decision making process. John Gray’s 1992 book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” confirmed what men and women have always known: The two sexes differ in their perspectives, motives, rationales, and actions. The objective of this research is to explore the role of females in the family purchase decision making process. In this paper, an attempt is made to understand the differences in the opinion between male and female, when it comes to make purchase decision for family.

Introduction

India is a diverse country with different cultures, cast and creed. Therefore, the choice is also differ from person to person. Today, the consumption is no more a process due to the need of consumers but, in accordance with the wishes of consumers it has became an evolving process. Therefore in marketing, consumer behavior plays a very important role. Woman being the key household figure in the Indian society forces the researcher to study the role of women in purchase decision making process in a family. Family members may have different roles to play in making decisions within the family. They may initiate demand or contribute information, and they may decide on where to buy, when to buy, what to buy, which brand and style to buy, how to pay for the product, how to consume the product and how to act in maintaining the product. Marketers examine the attitude and behaviour of the member of the family whom they believe in to be the major decision maker. Today women are more autonomous in their judgment. Today Women become decision makers because they have gained the economic and emotional freedom. Now a day’s both husband and wife are working which increases their income and discretionary income too (Arora, 1995). As such role of women doesn’t remain same as it was earlier. Today the women take active part in the family buying decision. She is the key aspect in all purchase decisions of the family. She has turned out to be active participant in family buying decision. She has acquired a place in the society by virtue of her education and employment (Webster, 1995) Indian manufacturers realized the need of her support and hence communicate with her and try to convince her through every possible media. They plan the marketing strategy to attract this segment, satisfy their needs and requirement and try to retain them by every possible means.

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Objectives of the study:

  1. To find out the role of women in purchase decision making.
  2. To study the influence of women socio-economic factor in the purchase decision.

Review of literature:

According to Simonson et al (2001), one of the most essential and influential areas within consumer buying behavior is the consumer decision making process.

Kulkarni and Murali (1996)33 in the study on purchasing practices of consumers of Parbhani town observed that majority of the household’s purchases were done by the husband and wife jointly. Most of the consumers preferred quality of the goods, while purchasing on cash payment method; and brought the goods from retail outlets.

Skinner (1990)34 notes that when a consumer purchases an unfamiliar expensive product he/she uses a large number of criteria to evaluate alternative brands and spends a great deal of time seeking information and deciding on the purchase. The type of decision making used varied from person to person and from product to product.

Research methodology:

Descriptive in nature based on secondary data, has been collected from various websites, books, research articles.

Women consumer:

In earlier times, women possessed no right in any field. Only men made decisions. Women were treated as having no right, but now the scenario has changed. Along with men, women are also stepping out on equal footing. About more than 75% of purchases of a family is being made by women. Their position and status have come up, and are still coming up. Women consumers while shopping, wander from shop to shop. They are keen in style, colour, beauty and economy in purchasing. They look and compare the products with other products. They always compare the quality and the price of similar products. They take time in inspecting the products and in making a decision whether to buy or not. They are conservative. They expect more products for less money. They may go even for comparison, after the purchase is made. They try to find difference in products purchased comparing them with the products purchased by a neighboring woman. They want a superior position

Buying behaviour of women:

The profile and role of the woman has been undergoing significant changes. Today, she is educated and in many cases she is employed too. The percentage of working woman has actually been growing steady pace. Their purchasing power has increased: thus the demand for product categories like cosmetics, package foods, beverage, two-wheelers, holiday packages etc. are of great appeal to them. In urban parts, the middle class woman is an active partner in the family. She is no longer confined to the four walls of the kitchen. She has acquired a place in society by virtue of her education and employment. She is a major factor in all purchase decisions of the family. She is practically the sole decision maker. Her role is main in purchasing-decisions. She is the cashier and budgeter. For several products, she is the ‘gate-keeper’. New items cannot an entry into the house without her consent and clearance. Purchases meant for children too are mostly decided by her. Whether she works at corporate sector in city or self employed in village, women are becoming independent. So it becomes very important for marketers to study buying behavior of women consumer.

Characteristics of women consumer:

  • Cautious buyer:

The women are generally a cautious buyer. She is willing to try new things. She is not opposed to change. But she does not adopt any product instantly. She may do a sample purchase: she enquires with somebody who has known the product: she may listen to advertisements of the product: she decides to purchase only if she is fully satisfied. The women are quality conscious as well as cost conscious buyer. She has often crosschecks the price details with other stores. She bargains, she compares one brand with another on price and quality.

  • Follow specific budget

She has a tight family budget to follow and within this budget, she develops her own preferences whether it is baby; food, cooking medium, tea or coffee, cosmetics or readymade garments etc.

  • Sense of beauty:

Generally women are fashion lover. She finds out what product or brand will suit her grooming needs. While choosing products like soap, shampoo, face cream or moisturizer, perfumes, hair oil, she pays due attention towards her beauty. She is greatly influenced by the products appeal to her sense of grooming.

  • Information Seeker:

Women generally seek information about the products which she is likely to purchase.

She finds out what product or brand her neighbour or friend is using. She always gets direct information from an existing ‘user’ about the product.

  • Give preference to durable goods:

Time saving appliances hold out great charm to her. She prefers for gadgets like electric grinders, washing machine, dish-washers, pressure-cookers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaner etc. As they reduce her workload and save her time to a great extent.

Behaviour of women as a spouse in purchase decision

A family is considered to be the basic decision making unit as regards purchases. The decision to purchase a commodity or service is generally combined but every family member is going to influence the decision most. The behaviour of spouse has multidimensional , because it highly depends upon the size of the family unit, age gap between them, social background of the spouse, working designation, the risk associated with the particular decision and above all the mindset of the family towards the traditional role of women.

Behaviour of women at an educational level in purchase decision

Education sharpens the mind and shapes the personality of an individual. It also creates awareness and helps to take right decisions. Education level of females has a significant influence in their purchase decision. As the education level of females increases so does their ability to take decisions on their own.

Behaviour of women as an entrepreneur in purchase decision:

Women have owned and operated businesses for decades, but they were not always recognized or given credit for their efforts. Often women entrepreneurs were 'invisible' as they worked side by side with their husbands, and many only stepped into visible leadership positions. Female entrepreneurs are said to encompass approximately 1/3 of all entrepreneurs worldwide. In India, women hold 25% of the white-collar jobs in sectors like IT, ITES, Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, market research, financial services, advertising, marketing and media. increasing financial power, has a greater discretionary income and utilizes it to satisfy wants that have gone beyond these two to include holidays abroad, personal vehicles, electronic goods etc. her criteria for family purchases have been modified by her increased exposure to various new ideas and information, and by her new role as a facilitator.

Behaviour of women and religion in purchase decision:

Religious differences may influence customers in terms of their seasonality of purchases guided by their festival dates, which is a visible manifestation of influence on items of purchase and gifts. Women belonging from different religion play a great role in buying decision. Their buying pattern differ from religion to religion.

Explanation

It can be identified that the women who are ‘self confident’ take final decision of purchasing as it scores the highest. Second rank is scored by the factor ‘independence’ in taking decisions. The women having ‘good knowledge’ about the product and if they are ‘educated’ they have the highest score for taking purchase decision as it scores the third and fourth rank respectively. Similarly, if women have ‘economic freedom’ they get the scope of taking final purchase decision.

Conclusion:-

Women are vital part of buying behaviour. It has been found that women are more involved with the purchasing activities. They are more price conscious, beauty admirer, initiator, influencer, etc. So the marketers need to give due attention to the buying habits of women. They may initiate demand of various products. Their buying pattern can affect the demand of various goods and services.

References:-

  1. Girl power: A marketing Blog
  2. Harvard Business Review
  3. Magazine: The female economy, By Harvard Business school
  4. Indian Journal of Commerce and Management studies.
  5. British Journal of Marketing Studies Vol.5, No.9, pp. 1-12, November 2017-Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK
  6. International Journal of Management and Social Science Research, Volume 1
  7. Various websites
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