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Should women’s magazines do more to highlight consumer technology?

Posted by Louise Andrews on 20th November 2013

Women's magazinesA consumer technology related article from the CEO of Lady Geek which featured on the Guardian’s website has peaked my interest.

The claim by Belinda Parmar is that women’s magazines ignore technology and demean women. She points out that of the UK’s top-selling women’s print ‘glossies’ (think the likes of Glamour and Elle) fewer than 2% of the pages refer to anything tech-related.

The data to support Parmar’s stance was strong, as she points out that the average British woman spends about £279 on beauty and cosmetics, but about a third more on technology products.

It doesn’t take an expert to spot the plethora of personal gadgetry that women carry around and use every day. And we’re not talking about whizzy food processors or ‘pink’ toasters.

In the time it takes me to travel only a couple of stops on the train I see women with smartphones, tablet PCs, headphones, kindles and iPods (the men are usually the ones catching a few extra zzzzs).

Our own research carried out last year ‘Why Buy? What influences consumer tech purchases?’ reveals the drivers behind why women buy gadgets for their personal use. Using tech for work is only a reason for 13% of women. Instead, 43% say it’s to make their lives easier, while 28% use them to enjoy lifestyle interests and pastimes.

Our Why Buy study also shows that women clearly have purchasing power and independence in choosing their own tech. When we look at personal gadgets like phones, cameras and tablets, two-thirds of women (67%) decide which product they want to buy and pay for it themselves for example.

There’s a clear appetite from women for consumer technology, but it seems women’s magazines are ignoring this demand. In order to research a purchase, women are turning to other sources as a result. Over a third (37%) actively read expert reviews online, 60% talk to their friends and family and 51% rely on user reviews on retailer sites.

What’s clear is that today women are in charge of their personal technology choices – and they have the purchasing power to act on this.

photo credit: jaimelondonboy

Louise Andrews

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile and versatile Associate Director and fantastic resource for the team, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.