What do women want?

In a unique collaboration between two of the nation’s leading media companies, Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) and NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) today announced key findings of a nationwide survey conducted among more than 3,000 women that covered a wide range of important topics to women, including marriage and family, health and fitness, safety, and financial matters.

Click on read more for the study findings.

The below findings from the Meredith/NBC Universal “What do Women Want?”TM study examines why the economy and personal financial challenges are at the forefront of the upcoming Presidential election and how women are shaping the debate. Women and their families are experiencing tremendous financial woes – on issues ranging from housing to credit card debt to healthcare – and are very concerned about their long term financial security.

  • Two-thirds (68%) of women cite “financial strain” as a major threat to the American Family – and a much bigger threat than “divorce” (48%), “loss of faith/spirituality” (47%), “liberal views on sex and sexuality” (32%), “both parents working” (28%), “unwed mothers” (21%) and “couples living together instead of getting married” (19%)
  • The majority (79%) of women in dual income HHs say it is “essential for both spouses/partners to be employed in order to make ends meet”
  • Six in 10 women are concerned about being able to pay their bills each month (60%) – especially high among single mothers with children under 18 (80%)
  • 72% of women are concerned about rising taxes – especially Boomer women (81%)
  • 4 in 10 (38%) women “feel overwhelmed by financial burdens” – even higher for Gen X (47%) and mothers of children under 18 (47%) and single mothers with children under 18 (52%)
  • 4 in 10 (38%) women have incurred medical debt – even higher among mothers of children under 18 (49%), especially young mothers 18-34 (59%)
  • Only 15% of women say they do not have any debt
  • 22% of women report being over $20,000 in non-mortgage debt – even higher for Gen X women (30%)
  • Three quarters of women are concerned about the future of social security (77%) and saving enough for retirement (75%)

DETAILED FINDINGS*:

Women & Financial Woes:

Housing

  • 57% of women are concerned about being able to pay monthly mortgage/rent – even higher among Gen X women (65%) and mothers with children under 18 (64%) and single mothers with children under 18 (72%)
  • One quarter (26%) of women and/or their partners are counting on real estate and home equity for retirement
  • 72% of women are concerned about rising taxes – even higher among Boomer women (81%)

Non-Mortgage Debt & Credit Cards

  • 85% of women report being in some sort of debt – with Gen Y women being the least likely to have debt (24% report no debt)
  • 22% of women have over $20,000 in debt, excluding mortgage debt – Gen X (30%) especially likely to be more than $20,000 in non-mortgage related debt
  • 62% of women have credit card debt – even higher among Gen X (72%) and young mothers 18-34 (70%)
  • 51% of women are concerned about credit card debt – even higher among Gen X (64%)
  • 28% of women say “credit card debt prevents me from saving for the future” – even higher for Gen X women (36%)
  • Only 31% of women report paying off their credit card bills every month – even lower for Gen X (26%), young mothers 18-34 (21%) and single mothers with children under 18 (21%)
  • 26% say they “dread the arrival of their credit card bills every month” – even higher among Gen X women (35%) and mothers of children under 18 (34%) and single mothers with children under 18 (41%)

Healthcare

  • Nearly half (46%) of women are extremely concerned about rising health care costs – especially high among Boomer women (55%) and single mothers with children under 18 (52%)
  • 38% have incurred debt from medical bills – even higher among mothers of children under 18 (49%), especially young mothers 18-34 (59%)
  • One in 5 (18%) women report that they do not have health insurance coverage – even higher among single mothers with children under 18 (24%)
  • Among those women who do have health coverage, nearly half (46%) are worried about being able to afford healthcare when they retire and 40% say their “co-payments keep increasing and becoming too expensive”
  • Baby Boomer women with health insurance coverage are especially likely to be worried about how they will afford healthcare when they retire (52%) as are single mothers with children under 18 (53%)
  • One-quarter of insured women say they “can only afford generic prescriptions” (25%) and “sometimes don’t fill a prescription because it is too expensive” (22%)
  • Single mothers are especially likely to say that they can only afford generic brand prescriptions (38%)
  • 18% of single mothers with children under 18 also say that their current healthcare coverage doesn’t include all members of their family (vs. 11% of Total insured women) and to say that “the family plan is too expensive to add to my existing plan” (23% vs. 9% Total insured women)
  • When given a list of social issues that affect American society, “uninsured Americans” is among the top 5 concerns among women along with “child abuse”, “drug/substance abuse”, “domestic violence”, and “homelessness”

Women & Their Financial Future

Retirement & Social Security

  • Three quarters of women are concerned about the future of social security (77%) and saving enough for retirement (75%) – Baby Boomer women are especially concerned about the future of social security (84%) while Gen X women are particularly concerned about saving enough for retirement (84%)
  • Two-thirds (67%) of women and/or their partners are counting on social security for retirement – this is especially high for Baby Boomer women (79%)
  • Two-thirds of Gen X women and/or their partners are counting on social security (65%) and their 401(k)/Roth/IRAs for retirement (64%)
  • 32% of women and/or their partners are counting on a company pension for retirement, especially Boomer women (42%)
  • Mothers of children under 18 and single mothers are more likely than most to be concerned about saving enough for retirement as well (82%, 85% respectively)

Personal Savings & Investing

  • 52% of women and/or their partners are counting on personal savings/investments for their retirement
  • Only half (54%) of women put money in savings on a regular basis – somewhat higher for Gen Y (60%)
  • Only 13% of women say they regularly make investments in stocks, bonds or mutual funds
  • 38% say they feel overwhelmed by the complexities of investing

The below findings from the nationwide survey conducted among more than 3,000 women reveal key insights on the female psyche across topics including health and well-being:

  • When it comes to health, women are more concerned about diet/weight (56%) and eating right (36%) than they are about cancer (23%), cardiovascular/heart health (20%), and diabetes (18%)
    Many women are skipping important medical examinations, including annual physicals and cancer screenings
    o Less than two-thirds (59%) of all women get an annual physical, even lower among Gen Y women (44%).
    o Nearly one-third of Boomer women are not getting their important annual mammograms, cholesterol checks or physicals.
    o 62% of women regularly give themselves a breast self-examination, while only 14% of all women get a skin cancer screening at least once a year.
  • Four in 10 women report that they are more than 20 pounds overweight
    o Gen Y women are more likely than Gen X and Boomer women to say they are at their ideal weight (29% vs. 9%, 7% respectively).
    o Relatively few (4%) overweight women say they would consider surgery as a weight reduction strategy; a substantial number say they would consider exercise (76%) and improving their diet (75%) to lose weight.
  • Still, when it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle, more women opt for simple strategies like “drinking more water” and “eating more fruits and vegetables” than more disciplined approaches like “exercising three times a week”, “lowering calorie intake”, “watching their sugar intake” and “using portion control”
    Not surprisingly, women are sensitive about their own weight, with 4 in 10 (40%) who say it’s wrong for a man to tell a woman that she’s overweight
    o However, relatively fewer women think it’s wrong for a woman to tell a man he’s overweight (32%) or a parent to tell a child he or she is overweight (26%).
    Most women think the battle of the bulge starts at the schools at an early age; the majority of moms claim that while their child(ren) eat junk food, it’s “not when I’m around”

DETAILED FINDINGS*:

Top 10 Health Concerns (across all generations)

1. Diet/weight control (56%)
2. Eating well/nutrition (36%)
3. Allergies (27%)
4. Aging process (26%)
5. Mental health (25%)
6. Arthritis (24%)
7. Cancer (23%)
8. Cardiovascular/heart health (20%)
9. Diabetes (18%)
10. Menopause (18%)

Health & Wellness

Medical check-ups:
• Less than two-thirds (59%) of all women get an annual physical, while more than two-thirds get an annual blood pressure check-up (67%) and visit the dentist at least once a year (66%).
• Only 44% of Gen Y women get an annual physical, compared to 69% of Baby Boomer women.
• 62% of women regularly give themselves a breast self-examination, while only 14% of all women get a skin cancer screening at least once a year.
• Nearly one-third of Boomer women are not getting their important annual mammograms, cholesterol checks or physicals.

Non-traditional approaches to health & wellness:
• To improve health and well-being, some women have taken the following non-traditional approaches: natural herbs and supplements (26%), bought/adopted a pet (25%), meditation (11%), acupuncture (4%), visited a hypnotist (1%).

What Women Want: To Look and Feel Good

Dissatisfaction with physical appearance/energy levels:
• While most women like who they are inside and are satisfied with their “identity and development as an individual” (68%), only 4 in 10 women say they are satisfied with their physical appearance (40%) and/or energy levels (37%).

Professionals Women Would Want to Hire*

1. Personal Trainer (47%)
2. Personal Chef (34%)
3. Financial Advisor (31%)
4. Live-In Housekeeper (31%)
5. Professional Masseuse (29%)
6. Nutritionist (28%)
7. Professional Organizer to de-clutter your living space or office (24%)
8. Stylist (19%)
9. Interior Decorator (15%)
10. Career Counselor (13%)

*allowed up to 5 choices

Women’s Lifestyles:
• Most women don’t want to work too hard to achieve a healthy lifestyle, opting for simple solutions like drinking more water or eating more fruits and vegetables over the more disciplined approaches like exercising regularly, counting calories, and using portion control (see chart below)

What Women Do to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle*

v Drink more water (80%)
v Eat more fruits and vegetables (70%)
v Read nutritional labels (49%)
v Avoid foods that are high in fat (47%)
v Make a conscious effort to lower calorie intake (44%)
v Watch my sugar intake (44%)
v Exercise at least three times a week (43%)

  • Women with children are especially likely to say that “it is difficult for me to find time to take care of my physical appearance” (28% vs. 22% total women).

The Obesity Epidemic

Overweight Women:

  • The vast majority of American women (84%) feel they are overweight.

• 13% of women feel that they are the ideal weight, while 23% feel they are 21-50 pounds overweight and 16% report being more than 50 pounds overweight.
• Older women are more likely than younger women to report they are overweight and to join weight management programs
o More Gen Y women (29%) feel they are the ideal weight, compared to Gen X women (9%) and Baby Boomer women (7%).
o Gen X women (22%) and Baby Boomer women (20%) are more likely to get involved in weight management programs to improve their health and well-being than Gen Y women (14%).
o On the other hand, Gen Y women (24%) are more likely to do yoga or Pilates to improve their health and well-being than their Gen X (18%) and Boomer (8%) counterparts.

  • Among women who feel they are overweight, exercise (76%) and improving diet (75%) are the top two strategies for weight reduction, while taking medications and/or dietary supplements (17%) and undergoing surgery (4%) are less popular methods.

Childhood Obesity:
• The majority of moms acknowledge that their children eat junk food however, most (72%) will tell you it’s “not while I’m around”
o Only 11% of moms say their children eat healthy all the time while 17% of moms say their children eat too much junk food.

  • Most women feel the battle against the obesity epidemic starts young, and in the schools with healthier choices for children (76%), mandated nutrition education starting at an early age (66%) and adequate funding of physical education programs (62%).

“While staying fit and trim definitely contributes to overall good health, it’s only a piece of a proactively healthy lifestyle,” says Diane Salvatore, editor in chief, Ladies’ Home Journal. “These findings should be a wakeup call to American women everywhere to make their yearly checkups without fail and make their own personal health a top priority.”

“It is particularly important for marketers in the health and wellness category to have a clear understanding of women’s behaviors, motivations and thoughts so that the messaging they create will resonate and have enhanced impact,” said Debbie Reichig, Senior Vice President, Market Development, NBC Universal. “We are thrilled to be able to make this information available to them.”

About Meredith Corporation
Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP: http://www.meredith.com) is a one of America’s premier media and marketing companies. Meredith combines well-known national brands – including Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, American Baby, Fitness and More – with local television brands in fast growing markets. Meredith is the industry leader in creating content in key consumer interest areas such as home, family, health and wellness, and self-development. The Company then uses multiple distribution platforms – including print, television, online, mobile and video – to give consumers content they desire and to deliver the messages of its marketing partners. Additionally, Meredith uses its many assets to create powerful custom marketing solutions for many of the nation’s top brands and companies. The goals of these programs are to increase consumer loyalty and produce repeated consumer interaction. In the last two years, Meredith has significantly added to its capabilities in this area through the acquisition of cutting-edge companies in areas such as online, word-of-mouth and database marketing. Meredith employs approximately 3,000 people throughout the United States, including approximately 1,000 in Des Moines and 750 in New York City. The Company’s 2007 annual revenues were $1.6 billion.

About NBC Universal
NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

*Please credit all data to Meredith/NBC Universal “What do Women Want?” survey of 3,000 women

Applied Research & Consulting conducted an online survey among 3,000** women ages 18-64 from October 1 to October 12, 2007. The data was sample balanced to reflect the U.S. Census Bureau and has an overall margin of error or +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level. ** Some sections were administered to a split sample to accommodate the length of the survey.

Advertisements

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: