Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lift Up the Tutus When Times Are Tight

A BloombergBusiness article this week discussed a nascent upsurge in retailing STEM-themed apparel for girls. The report says parents have been frustrated by the dearth of science, technology, engineering, and math d├ęcor on female kids’ clothes. STEM is where the jobs and big money are at now and for the foreseeable future. If little Trixie shows an interest in Saturn’s rings, there should be a T-shirt for Trixie featuring Saturn’s rings. Parents could buy the items in boys departments, it’s said, but the retort has been that this would only reinforce the restrictive thinking of clothing designers and antediluvian retailers.
     The underlying theme is that parents have a great interest in preparing their daughters to be productive. A controversial research article supports the theme and, in fact, goes beyond it to find that thinking about tight economic times exaggerates a desire parents have to spend more retail dollars on daughters than on sons.
     It’s due to evolutionary adaptation say the Rutgers University and University of Minnesota researchers: Women, into which the girls will grow, are a safer bet for reliably carrying on the parents’ genes in resource-deprived conditions than are the men into which the boys will grow.
     The research is one of a number of studies where consumer psychology intersects with evolutionary psychology. An overview of such studies finds what could be called the five most basic retail sales pitches:
  • Evading physical harm 
  • Avoiding contamination 
  • Making friends 
  • Attaining status 
  • Raising a family 
     The evolutionary-based bias for spending substantially more on girls than boys in tight times operates below the level of conscious awareness. In surveys, parents generally don’t say they care more about their daughters than their sons. But World Bank statistics show that in years with a lower U.S. Gross Domestic Product, the ratio of retail spending on apparel for girls versus boys goes up almost 20%.
     Could it be that when money looks tight, parents conclude their daughters are more vulnerable, and the parents make it more of a point to buy them resources? This is probably true, too, but the researchers say their analyses find more to it than that. In any case, when there are uncertainties about the future circulating in society, it’s time to have a range of items for sale to fit girls’ preferences as well to stock the shelves with the unambiguously feminine items. The Saturn-festooned T-shirts, and also the tutus.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Stem the Tide of Female Shopper Discomfort
Let Mother-Daughters Shop at Leisure
Evolve the Most Basic Sales Pitches of All

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