The women affair
The women affair

According to internationally recognised marketing strategist and author Mary Lou Quinlan: “Women are the most powerful customers on the planet, influencing or purchasing 85 per cent of everything you make, sell, or offer.”(What She’s Not Telling You, 2010). Trends worth considering are - women being more viral (increased usage of social media); more word of mouth (WOM) for online shopping purchases they make; the frequency of purchase/impulse shopping and the categories in context – fitness, apparel, jewellery, fragrances, home décor, etc.

All about women buyers

Players Average age (yrs) Urban/rural Average ticket size Hot categories For self/family Contribution by impulse buying Payment mode (used maximum) Day/timing of purchase
Ebay 18-40 51% from Metros, 41% from tier I and tier II   Rs 2,000 per transaction                 Jewellery, beauty products, apparels and home décor items Buys for both-self & to gift to family and friends Some of the eBay merchandising & deal properties like Daily Deal & One Day Super Deal encourage impulse shopping   90% of transactions are via PaisaPay Online shopping occurs 24 by 7 but does see a peak at lunch time
99 labels 22-35 60% of the buyer base-from metros. Significant increase in buyers from Tier II and Tier III cities. An average basket on the website would be worth Rs 1,500 Accessories, unstitched suits and saris. Lingerie and home as a category also picking pace.   Good mix of both Business model is such that it encourages impulse buys- a great part of daily sales 60% of orders are COD (Cash-on-delivery) Majority sales in the morning and mid day.    
Zivame 30 Urban Rs 1,400-Rs 1,500 Bras and swimwear Mostly-women shopping for themselves. We also see an increasing trend of men shopping for their wives/girl-friends.   On each order there are a couple of products that are added on impulse too. Also happens during deals or promotions A mix of pre-paid and COD. Lot of women chooseCOD for the first purchase but choose pre-paid methods for their subsequent orders Non-office hours
Timtara 26 Urban Rs 3,500 Jewellery, bags, perfumes and watches Majorly for herself       - Credit card Daytime
Ladyblush   20-30   60 : 40 :: urban : rural   Rs 1,200   Fashion-apparel, cosmetics, perfumes, watches and shoes Self      60 to 70% of shopping would be impulse   50% is COD     Afternoon   
Zovi 24-29 Urban only, primarily top 8 metros Rs 700 Spaghetti, woven and knit tops; jewellery accessories Self purchase       - Primarily COD Primarily around mid day and late evening

The ‘social media’ viral

Kavindra Mishra , Founder Member & VP Sales, shares that though, overall - in the online population, there are a higher proportion of men vs women (70:30). However, on social media, the ratio is equal if not skewed in favour of women. On Facebook especially, women spend more time per session and consume more content than men.

Women, often regarded as the more sociable, caring and sharing gender – are making the most of social media like never before. A whopping 68 per cent of women use social media to stay in touch with friends as opposed to 54 per cent of men. Ishita Swarup, CEO & Co-founder of adds, “Our key audience in social media is women and to a large extent we customise most of our content online for a female audience.”

Women shoppers are buying cosmetics, home décor, jewellery, watches, fashion and fitness equipment online. “Over 45 per cent of all purchases are in the lifestyle category when you look at all e-commerce purchases – both domestic and imports. The eBay India Facebook page has 1.4 million fans out of which 38 per cent are women. Regular engagements through showcasing products, deal listings, contests and conversations help us generate valuable consumer insights,”  shares Deepa Thomas, Head–Partnerships, eBay India.

Richa Kar, CEO  shares that each day a lot of queries come in on our blog which are mostly related to fit and size and our in-house experts answer them. Arindam Bose, MD & Chief Customer Officer,  states that they have a total of 29 per cent of women fans on their social site.

The WOM effect

Women tend to be social with their shopping habits whether it be sharing details of a product they are looking for  and seeking recommendations or sharing what they bought  and making recommendations. Their circle of influence is larger and they shop more frequently.

Swarup averes, “Word of Mouth works for us to a very large extent. Our ‘Invite-a-friend’ referral program promotes word of mouth and is incentivised as it gives our customer added perks for spreading the word.” Kar opines, “We believe that the success of Zivame will be based on WOM marketing. Women do discuss their lingerie needs with each other”. She further explained by giving an example wherein she  shares, “We have seen that one order comes in from a particular college/girls hostel - is followed by a string of orders coming from the same college/hostel. This is clearly WOM working for us.”

For a young brand as Zovi, WOM contributes to around 10 per cent of visits to the website. Even for Rahul Sethi, Founder & CEO at, WOM is one of the key contributors for getting women shoppers. “Unlike men - who would do research about a product on google and review sites, women go by frends' reference and that plays a very important role in getting new women users. Fifty per cent plus users on our website today are attracted by WoM,” he comments.

The lifestyle category is the most popular for women with:

  • A piece of jewellery selling every 4 minutes
  • A health or beauty product selling every 4 minutes
  • A piece of apparel selling every 5 minutes
  • A watch selling every 7 minutes
  • A piece of home décor selling every 8 minutes

*As shar by Deepa Thomas, Head–Partnerships, eBay India


Who is this shopper and why?

At 99 labels, 60 per cent of the member base constitutes women. These are largely working women, who are net savvy with spending power and is brand conscious but lacks reach or accessibility or even simply lacks time. For most working women, juggling a job and a home can leave little or no time for shopping. The fact that they can get their best brands at their doorstep and shop from the comfort of their home or office at anytime is highly appealing.

At Ebay, this buyer constitutes home-makers, professionals, entrepreneurs and working women. Zivame divides its shopper into four baskets - working women, home-makers, girl students and men (shopping for their wives/girl friends). For Timtara, the shopper is working women and young girls. LadyBlush portrays a similar pattern, with the buyer being working women dominating the base, followed by home makers. The core TG for Zovi is in the 24-30 age bracket working woman and homemaker. While there is a lot of interest shown by the younger audience, this segment has a lower contribution to overall sales.

While selling to women, both - offline and online, has been a tricky game, one  needs to understand what women are doing online, how and why they surf, and what persuades them to buy from the websites that they buy from.

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