Ladies Day, Every Day

We’ve noted in a number of articles recently the dominance of women amongst shopping centre customers. This is nothing new – shopping centres have always been marketed to women, particularly those in family households.

When it opened as the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere in 1966, Bankstown Square was promoted as the Housewife’s Square where it was ‘ladies day, every day.’

At the time, it was not unreasonable for the Square’s marketers to assume that a large proportion of their customers were indeed undertaking domestic and home duties roles.

However, much has changed in one of history’s most significant social revolutions, and women now have a significantly higher workforce participation rate than they did in the 1960s.

None-the-less, women engaged in home duties still account for almost 15% of shopping centre customers. They’re also amongst the highest spenders and spend longer than average in-centre.

A number of US studies have shown that women engaged in home duties have distinctive shopping patterns and yet most marketing directed towards women tends to be generic and untargeted.

So let’s apply some focus. What is distinctive about the home duties shopper? There is obviously considerable variation within this shopping group, but we can also discern some general patterns.

Women in home duties who are shopping centre customers tend to be, on average, slightly older, living in larger household sizes, with lower average household incomes. This is all expected, although we should not assume women engaged in home duties are all mothers – over 20% live in households without children.

Visitation patterns also run along expected patterns although it is interesting to add detail to these. As Table 1 shows, women engaged in home duties are more frequent, local shoppers. They also spend more time in centre, and are more leisurely in their approach. Differences on these latter measures narrow in  Regional centres because of their destinational nature, with women in paid employment willing to spend more time in centre, and to take the opportunity to relax on a more substantial shopping excursion.