May 2nd, 2024

All Signs Are Pointing To The Rise Of The Single Woman Customer

All Signs Are Pointing To The Rise Of The Single Woman Customer
Lesley Landry
Lesley Landry
Director, Media Planning

We now know that women tend to have more influence over purchasing power in the household, making upwards of 85% of day-to-day spending decisions. However, marketers cannot ignore the fact that single women are becoming a prominent buying segment – and banks, mortgage lenders and insurance companies, especially, need to take note.

When it comes to home buying, people aren’t waiting for traditional life tentpole moments like marriage and parenthood to buy their first homes – and single women are leading the way. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors:

  • 70% of recent buyers did not have a child under 18 in their home. This is the highest share recorded.
  • 36 is the average age of the first time home buyer, which is the highest ever.
  • 59% of recent buyers were married couples, this is the lowest share of married couples since 2010.
  • 19% of recent buyers were single women

Single women also beat out their male counterparts in home ownership – 13% of owner-occupied homes belong to single women vs 10.2% to single men. This trend is further shown in the mortgage industry as 18% of mortgage applicants were single women.

All signs are pointing to the rise of the single woman customer, not only for Real Estate companies, but for lenders and home insurers.

It’s crucial that marketers in these housing-adjacent industries acknowledge this audience and evolve their products and messaging to meet the needs of who we like to call the Ambitious Single Woman (ASW).

So who is she?

She’s definitely not one person, but a spectrum.  She could be the 30 year old advanced career woman who has given up renting and now strives to own their own home.  She could also be the 45 year old mother who is divorced and looking to provide a new home for her kids.  What’s important to know about her is that she’s financially stable, responsible and wants security in her future.

According to the latest research from MRI Simmons, our Ambitious Single Woman is more likely to be brand loyal than their male counterparts, and are 6% more likely to stick with a brand they like. 92% of ASW know their credit score, and are 11% more likely to know it than men. They take an active role in retirement planning and are more likely to favor quality over price.

These attributes align with the ideal customer that lenders and insurers benefit from working with.

How can financial services companies connect with her?

Digital is king when it comes to reaching her. For media consumption, she’s very digital first and a heavy user of online media and social media. Of note, this audience heavily over indexes in LinkedIn use, an indication of their career-focused mindset.

But it’s not just about showing up where the Ambitious Single Woman is, it’s about creating a relevant connection with her.

And messaging matters to drive relevancy.

From a messaging perspective, cultural diversity creates relevancy with her. In fact, the ambitious single woman audience is 29% more likely to agree that cultural diversity in messaging matters, as opposed to her male counterparts who are 12% less likely to agree. She also favors brands that support a cause she cares about, with 60% agreeing it is important, coming in at 21% more likely than men to agree.

Although not financial services companies, we’ve seen great examples of this in practice with recent CPG International Women’s Day campaigns. Many hit on specific themes:

  • Showing real women in roles that are stereotypically male dominant (Ford’s “Dear Car Girl”, Vans “Always Pushing”)
  • Female empowerment (Kotex “She Can”, Always “Like a Girl”)
  • Female oriented causes (L’oreal’s “Stand up against street harassment”, Dove’s “#TheFaceof10”)
  • Championing works from women (“Woman-Made” from Wolverine, Makers Mark custom labels, Dannon special packaging)

What’s important to note in these examples is that there is an edginess to them, many take on uncomfortable topics, some that might even be deemed un-brand-safe.

Financial Service industries are notoriously risk-averse, but for ASW, the kid gloves need to come off.

According to The State of Women Report 2023, a combined effort of the Skimm and The Harris Poll, women “want brands to ‘speak about current realities with honesty and candor.’” And, they want “brands to provide women with functional support to get through day-to-day demands.”

So what does this mean for lenders and insurers?

With the Ambitious Single Women of the world carving out a larger and larger piece of home ownership, similar financial institutions like mortgage lenders and insurance companies need to take note. A direct, empathetic and empowering tone will resonate with our ASWs, as well as offering content that will feed these master-planners and self-guided learners.

To capitalize on this significant buying segment, the ASW can’t just be another segment in a campaign targeting parameter.  They need to be teased out and addressed based on their uniqueness.  It’s crucial to show up in places that are natural to her daily journey, and some that are maybe unexpected.  That shows commitment to their needs and realness. Bottom line, it’s about propelling her forward toward her goals, helping her succeed in a complicated world.

Do you agree that the Ambitious Single Woman deserves more attention from marketers?

Lesley Landry
Lesley Landry
Director, Media Planning
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