Although women form a significant number of property buyers and influence the purchase decision, marketing campaigns revolving around them, remain rare. This Women’s Day, we examine the reasons for the real estate fraternity’s reluctance to focus on this crucial segment of home buyers.
Even though women have emerged as a critical segment of homebuyers, real estate marketers continue to view women merely as part of families. Not surprising, the marketing campaigns of real estate projects, continue to portray women in a stereotypical fashion – in fancy kitchens or with children. Images of women are either used as models or as a homemaker who is buying a house with the family.
Nevertheless, statistics suggest that real estate campaigns are far off their target, with this influential group of homebuyers. Women, today, control $28 trillion in annual consumer spending, as per a study. In terms of consumer spending, women drive almost 80% of all purchases. In terms of home buying, 74% women play the role of either a contributor or an influencer, as per a pan-India survey. This includes 32% home buying by single women across the top eight cities of India.
Why developers shy away from women-centric ad campaigns
Real estate professionals think that the problem lies in the mindset of most of the developers. It is not just the first-generation conservative developers, who reject women-centric marketing campaigns. Even the second-generation luxury developers do not want to risk market disruption.
It is tough to convince such builders that women, who are the single and a powerful consumer group in the housing market, do not need or desire validation of their life’s choices from your brand. It is your brand that needs to be validated by their choices.
It is a global phenomenon that women are used in real estate advertising, only to add an element of glamor. In the western property markets, there are instances of women being used to spice up ad campaigns. Home buying is still considered as a family affair, in our society. Hence, Indian real estate has shied away from using any form of sex in advertising, even though other segments overuse it, to sell anything from coffee to cars, with success. In a way, it is okay to not have objectification of women in real estate advertising, when your project offerings are not designed to meet the needs of women in general and the single women in particular.
Real estate purchase still viewed as a family affair
Experts point out that the thought of bringing women to the forefront of marketing campaigns never took Centre stage.
Home buying is such a family-driven affair that most of the time, the thought process revolves around how to tempt a family and not an individual. Some change is there in the mindset but we still have a long way to go, before we start thinking about women as buyers. For example, in south India, the focus is more on women buyers, even if the campaign is family-driven. However, in north India, the focus shifts to the male-driven family units. Women may be contributors today but so long as their independent buying does not reflect in numbers, the market’s orientation is unlikely to change.
Women in real estate and their portrayal
- Women play the role of influencer or contributor, in 74% of real estate buying decisions.
- Of this, 32% of buyers are single women, in the top eight cities.
- Use of women in advertising has generally been to add glamor, rather than talking to this target audience.
- With home purchase perceived as a family affair, developers still question why they need to talk to women, rather than how to talk to them.