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Do Women Choose ‘Pink’ Gadgets?

Do Women Choose ‘Pink’ Gadgets?

Women value functionality over design or colours when purchasing tech products.

Women have traditionally been identified as strong and impactful consumers. But global brands have a hit-and-miss record of targeting women. Technology companies, in particular, have famously missed the mark.

PC maker Dell’s ‘Della’ website for women was heavily criticised in the press for featuring pink-shelled laptops and the notorious ePad Femme – the pink and ‘Simple’ iPad specially designed for women – was a bona-fide lesson in how not to do marketing.

Research suggests that women are, in fact, sophisticated and discerning customers when it comes to choosing technology products.

According to a recent study conducted by ExpatWoman.com, a popular English-language website targeted at UAE-based women, females are avid users of technology with an overarching influence over the family’s usage and consumption of devices, software and content.

Over 85 per cent of the households surveyed by ExpatWoman had two or more mobile phones, with women taking the lead in selecting the two primary mobile phones in the family over their partners.

However when the decision came to choosing a mobile phone for their children, partners had the final say.

Such a high level of smartphone engagement comes as no surprise since the UAE ranks above markets like the UK and the US in terms of smartphone penetration, according to a Google study this year. Smartphone penetration rate in the UAE stood strong at 73 per cent, compared to 62 per cent and 56 per cent in the UK and the US respectively.

The ExpatWoman survey, which polled 1,500 UAE-based women, also revealed female attitudes to shopping for technology products. When asked what factors influence their choice of a mobile phone, 63 per cent said that they chose a mobile based on functionality.

“It is not the case that they paint the phone pink and women will all buy,” said Gail Livingstone-Potter, general manager of ExpatWoman.

“They are less interested in the design and style of it but more its functionality and what it can do. That is more important to women than whether it is pink or not.”

The survey found that 62 per cent of women bought mobile phones based on either personal recommendations or via social media. However, the majority of women were also found to have researched their purchasing decisions online before making a choice.

“It was really interesting to see that women are informed about technology and they do research online and don’t just rely on magazines,” said Livingstone-Potter.

The ExpatWoman study also highlighted the fact that UAE women are extremely tech-savvy. When purchasing a mobile phone, respondents were found to prioritise the number of applications over price.

But despite high technology engagement among women, the study found that females are reluctant to make online purchases from their phones. The majority of the respondents had never purchased products or services online.

“E-commerce is a platform that has not taken off yet in this region as it has in America and the UK,” said Livingstone-Potter.

Despite women’s reluctance to shop online, the survey found that around 47 per cent of the respondents used their mobile or tablets to make in-store price comparisons.

“This shows that they may be shopping there but will be comparing prices online while doing so,” said Livingstone-Potter.

The ExpatWoman survey calls for a change in how advertisers target women who are increasingly taking decisions based on rationality and not according to design and looks.

“Maybe advertisers should have a little thought about how they are actually advertising the technology products,” said Livingstone-Potter.

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