Men and women are still from different planets when it comes to shopping behaviours. According to new consumer research by Jabra, gender is the clear differentiator in terms of why consumers are making new technology purchases for office or personal use.
From netbooks to mp3 players, the cellphone is no longer the only gadget equipped with Bluetooth functionality and the demand for hands-free accessories – including headsets and speakerphones – is increasing.
"We live in a female-driven economy, and industry research shows that women are more likely to drive household technology purchases," says Iman Lattouf, channel marketing manager: Middle East & Africa at Jabra. "Women are at the forefront of our research and development process and we feel it's our mission to make products that are relevant to the female user experience.
"Specifically, products must be intuitive, aesthetically appealing, and most importantly life changing. It is necessary for the product to demonstrate how it improves some facet of life – even if it's as simple as video conferencing, web browsing, or driving with both hands on the wheel."
The market research, conducted globally by Jabra in collaboration with consulting firm McKinsey & Company, revealed that, while men currently represent the majority of Bluetooth accessory owners, women are on the move – and simplicity, convenience, and design are key product traits that women look for in a Bluetooth accessory.
In addition, women are a powerful purchasing group, accounting for about 40% of consumer electronics spending, according to an estimate by research firm NPD Group. Compared to men, who cited work and daily commutes as the primary impetus for purchasing a Bluetooth device, women cited more lifestyle-oriented reasons, like the ability to listen to music, multitask, perform recreational activities, and even play sports.
"Early adopters in the Bluetooth headset and speakerphone categories are not your typical role models for mainstream consumer adoption. These early adopters are mostly driven by occupation – take what is classified today as 'road worriers', for example, who were some of the first to shape the Bluetooth revolution," says Lattouf.
"As a company, we have reevaluated our approach to research and development (R&D) and have gone back to the basics. Sometimes simpler is better, particularly when there is a degree of education that needs to take place around technology like DSP, A2DP, dual microphones, and multi-use. With less than 10% of cellphone users using Bluetooth accessories, our focus is on making the products intuitive and the technology invisible."