Friday Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Womenomics
If you already struggle with the word gamification, then I really suggest you stop reading now. In 1995 a report by Chrysler introduced the term womenomics as a global mega trend.
Womenomics effectively means that increasingly the world economy will be influenced by females. Global predictions by Boston Consulting Group are that by 2028 women will be controlling 72% of consumer spending worldwide. Currently women in the western world are outnumbering men in higher education enrolment (Sweden 150 women for 100 men, USA 140 women for 100 men). Disposable income streams thanks to more women in the workforce will also continue to increase and insofar it isn’t already the case the majority of family household decisions will be influenced by women.
These are pretty serious statistics, so what does it mean in the word of design and engagement.
Well even though the economic crisis affected a lot of areas, the luxury brands did survive rather unscathed in comparison to more mainstream brands. The reason why is women. In fact male oriented products decreased in attraction and female oriented products such as jewellery and handbags for example increased. Women will once they have a regular steady income work towards a treat often in the form of exclusive luxury items. What the luxury goods industry has done well over the years, is to make the customer experience equally special, from the personal attention, to little things such as seating areas by the dressing room, tailoring, personalisation, luxurious wrapping in pretty colours and boxes. Most high end retailers, have managed to create an experience, which is what sets them apart from more mass market brands.
Forward thinking hotel groups are working towards women friendly hospitality with healthier room service menus, rooms close to lifts or female only floors, services where things like yoga mats, hair straighteners etc can be borrowed. In the leisure market Adidas is launching pop-up sports groups, another sports brand Sweaty Betty which carries funky colourful sports gear for women already has a free to participate club circuit for things from yoga to dance classes and running groups. Women like to do things collaboratively and socially in safe settings.
Bring a friend tactics, social collaboration without the need for competition and making experiences memorable are all core in my view when you are designing for engagement with women in mind.
Women especially the ones I know in my circle of friends are multi-talented, they often run the family, a business and still find time for charitable causes or other things they believe in. With that comes the need for flexibility and an element of freedom to work at a different pace when needed. Personally I see a lot of my girlfriends opting away from strict structures and creating their own work life balance. When designing solutions I believe it is important to allow tailoring and personalisation, which is what I see both men and women do with their gmail or twitter backgrounds for example. The same would apply to working hours, more women opt for flexi-time, condensed working weeks than men, mainly because of other priorities such as family. Taking this further into gamification, let an element of freedom open to allow people to shape it to their needs and wants, likes and dislikes, etc.
If you are unsure how to facilitate design with women in mind, start by observing existing habits and patterns from younger girls in school or groups to teenagers and adults.
When you have some great observations, let us know, we would love to hear your perspectives too?