2016 Alpha Panel Survey

What Women Want

Inside the minds of the world’s most powerful consumers:
Secrets revealed in annual “What Women Want” survey

Ginger consulting firm uncovers trends 2016’s women are considering — from politics to consumer behavior

Jennifer Weismann
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MINNEAPOLIS — Sept. 1, 2016 —Kids are back to school, the election is around the corner, and it’s time to sit down with today’s women and get the straight scoop: Are they nodding in agreement with a compromiser-in-chief or a stick-to-your-guns type? Treating themselves with an upscale dark chocolate or a jolt of caffeine? Willing to embrace the sharing economy?

Today, Twin Cities-based Ginger Consulting unveils findings from its seventh-annual What Women Want survey, a collection of sharp insights into important consumer trends — from shopping to voting — from the firm’s national group of female super-consumers. 

What did they find in this influential group’s intimate thoughts and the details of their daily lives? Don’t blink— because women are moving fast. For 44 percent, their mornings are summed up by #somuchtodosolittletime. They are on the go, skipping breakfast or eating it in the car, living in their leggings (just as beloved as the little black dress) and sports bras, stealing time to sneak in a workout. And time is at a premium—40 percent say they’re working 10-12 hours a day. (That must be why so many say they can’t live without their high-end mattresses and premium bedding.)

The truth? They accept that having it all means there’s always going to be a time crunch, so what they really want more of is money. On the whole, the survey showed this year’s female consumer is paying down debt, accumulating savings, and living the athleisure life.

Ginger’s 2016 What Women Want survey captured attitudes on personal spending, the political arena and cultural trends. Respondents weighed in on their household pocketbook optimism (58 percent are budgeting for one or two splurges like a vacation or new home furnishings this year—up from last year), the little luxuries they cherish (number one: eating out); their most-disliked household tasks (hardcore cleaning), and when and where they like to text (at the office instead of email: yes; instead of a chatty phone catch-up with friends: nope.) 

The survey’s secret weapon— the brain trust of Ginger’s proprietary Alpha Panel™. These 350 hand-picked women from 10 U.S. cities have their fingers on the pulse of trends and interests specific to women today— educated, vital women who power our economic engine. 

“Women are employees, business owners, voters, caretakers, and often the household CEO, and in those roles they shape our economy by influencing or directly making decisions on 80 percent of consumer purchases,” said Beth Perro-Jarvis, co-founder, Ginger Consulting. “Knowing what they prioritize, what they’ve decided to ignore, and where they are steering the family ship is key for every player in the marketplace. Our survey always surprises us—and those surprises keep us motivated year after year.” 

“We’re seeing women embracing change, with a positive curiosity towards elements of the sharing economy,” said Mary Van Note, co-founder, Ginger Consulting. “Status symbols of the past—gourmet cooking skills, an ‘it’ bag, a car—aren’t things she necessarily has room to care about anymore. She likes food, but would like to go out — or have a meal kit delivered. She might subscribe to a service that lets her share a car, or even a fancy designer purse or dress. As always, she’s pressed for time, but she’s paying down debt, putting away savings, and if given the choice, she’d rather have more money than time—she’s adapted to the fast pace of modern life—and sees a lot of fun ways to spend.”

And, in this election year, the survey showed that 46 percent of women want a president who can compromise, and 43 percent are looking for foreign policy experience from their ideal commander-in-chief.  “This is an interesting shift,” added Van Note. “Four years ago, the top response, 70 percent, wanted a president who could steer the economy. That’s dropped off the radar this time around— our other significant responses were 36 percent for a president who prioritizes education and health care funding, and just 33 percent were most concerned with trustworthiness.”

Ginger Consulting is a consulting firm that provides strategy, ideation and custom market research for blue-chip brands— as well as emerging companies you haven’t heard of yet. Founded in 2003 by former Fallon executives Mary Van Note and Beth Perro-Jarvis, Ginger delivers insights into the world’s largest and most influential consumer group — women— to brands and businesses through services including marketing strategy, planning, ideation and custom research. Ginger is deeply experienced in female consumers because they are, after all, the most influential consumer group on the planet.