Retailers, marketers and vendors have failed to successfully connect with female consumers, largely due to outdated gender assumptions, a new survey has claimed.
Research by independent market analyst Datamonitor contends that as the traditional female role within a household has gone through "considerable upheaval" during the last half century, sellers and advertisers had not managed to keep pace.
These obsolete impressions of women, coupled with the fact that the average woman is staying single until a later age, delaying motherhood and outliving men, was contributing to companies missing out on potentially half of their target market, the research firm claims.
Matthew Adams, author of report and consumer markets analyst at Datamonitor, said: "Too many marketers' approaches to female consumers are reliant on outmoded stereotypes based around the nuclear family or the superwoman. They should instead be steering towards a sharper understanding of the modern female consumer."
Mr Adams explained that changes in women's lives had led to significant increases in their spending capabilities, with four-fifths of household shopping and major purchasing decisions made by women.
As an example of vastly different conventions in the 21st century, today's report contends that half of all university students in Europe and the US are female, with this proportion expected to rise to almost two-thirds by 2010.
To this end, Datamonitor advises retailers to embrace the gender differences and to connect better with women on a uniquely female level, but not at the risk of alienating men.