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UK Marketing to Women Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Women market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • The propagation of unhealthy ideals
  • Creating connections in a digital world
  • Marketing to the ‘invisible’ older woman

What you need to know

The youngest women are most engaged with advertising – but they’re asking more of advertisers. Beyond product or service awareness, they want ad campaigns that carry a strong message to help ignite positive societal change, but they will be quick to call out brands that do not also take action. Diversity is a driving issue, with women wanting to see a broader reflection of shapes, sizes, colours, beliefs and abilities in advertising campaigns.

However, in trying to create a more inclusive image, some campaigns have missed the mark by polarising women; old against young, thin against fat, or even black against white. As well as potentially normalising unhealthy habits and attitudes and behaviours amongst the public, this threatens to undermine diversity efforts through their being perceived as disingenuous.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Lucy Cornford, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Younger women are demanding more social responsibility from companies. Campaigns that aim to affect societal change rather than just promoting a new product or service are likely to become an expectation for this cohort. However, in trying to create a more inclusive, diverse image, some advertising campaigns have missed the mark by polarising women further. As well as potentially normalising unhealthy habits, attitudes and behaviours, this threatens to undermine diversity efforts as disingenuous. Lucy Cornford
Category Director - Lifestyles

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

        • The market
          • Age of motherhood continues to rise
            • Breaking down gender stereotypes
              • Healthy habits under pressure
                • A matter of time
                  • The consumer
                    • Food and drink advertising of most interest
                      • Figure 1: Interest in sector advertising, October 2018
                    • TV advertising holds most appeal
                      • Figure 2: Appeal of advertising mediums, October 2018
                    • A call for more body sizes
                      • Figure 3: Interest in diversity in advertising, October 2018
                    • A question of true diversity
                      • Figure 4: Attitudes towards advertising, October 2018
                    • Make ’em laugh
                      • Figure 5: Memorable elements in advertising campaigns, October 2018
                    • 16-24s indicate more encouraging behaviours around advertising
                      • Figure 6: Behaviours around advertising in the last 6 months, October 2018
                    • A woman’s place is in the family
                      • Figure 7: Positive representations of women in advertising, October 2018
                    • The universal issue of loneliness
                      • Figure 8: Attitudes towards social stereotypes, October 2018
                    • Only the lonely
                      • Figure 9: Comfort with discussing personal issues, October 2018
                    • Young women have most barriers to seeking help
                      • Figure 10: Barriers to seeking mental health help, October 2018
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • A future landscape shaped by social media
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • The propagation of unhealthy ideals
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Creating connections in a digital world
                                    • The facts
                                      • Marketing to the ‘invisible’ older woman
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Age of motherhood continues to rise
                                              • Breaking down gender stereotypes
                                                • Healthy habits under pressure
                                                  • A matter of time
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Baby boom subsides and age of motherhood rises
                                                      • Figure 11: Number of live births and standardised^ mean age of mothers at birth of child, England and Wales, 2000-17
                                                    • Growth in population of women slows …
                                                      • Figure 12: Trends in the age structure of the UK female population, 2013-23
                                                    • … as does growth in female employment
                                                      • Figure 13: Employment and unemployment, by gender, 2013-23
                                                    • Breaking down gender stereotypes in the workplace
                                                      • Figure 14: US Ad Council ‘She Can STEM’ campaign, September 2018
                                                    • Healthy habits fall by the wayside for working women
                                                      • Figure 15: Activities employees struggle to find the time to do, all vs females by age, October 2017
                                                    • Working mums struggle to find time for housework
                                                      • Figure 16: The Organised Mum Method, 2018
                                                    • Image-conscious young women and stress
                                                      • The healthy lifestyles of today’s women
                                                        • Figure 17: Consumers’ perceptions of the healthiness of their habits (nets), August 2018
                                                      • Women in the media
                                                        • Gender stereotyping comes under fire
                                                          • #MeToo
                                                            • A question of ageing
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Food and drink advertising of most interest
                                                                • TV advertising holds most appeal
                                                                  • A call for more body sizes
                                                                    • A question of true diversity
                                                                      • Make ’em laugh
                                                                        • 16-24s indicate more encouraging behaviours around advertising
                                                                          • A woman’s place is in the family
                                                                            • The universal issue of loneliness
                                                                              • Only the lonely
                                                                                • Young women have most barriers to seeking help
                                                                                • Interest in Sector Advertising

                                                                                  • Food and drink of most interest
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Interest in sector advertising, October 2018
                                                                                  • Advertising can raise awareness of health-focused reformulation
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Lucozade Zero advert for Love Island, June 2018
                                                                                  • Aspirational sectors appeal to young women
                                                                                    • Fashion and beauty
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Interest in selected areas of sector advertising, by age, October 2018
                                                                                    • Technology
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Advert for the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ smartphone, February 2018
                                                                                    • Cosmetic procedures
                                                                                      • Financial services of lower interest
                                                                                      • Appeal of Advertising Mediums

                                                                                        • TV advertising holds most appeal
                                                                                            • Figure 22: Appeal of advertising mediums, October 2018
                                                                                          • Half of young women drawn in by social media advertising …
                                                                                              • Figure 23: Social media-friendly launches in the BPC sector, 2017-18
                                                                                            • … highlighting opportunities for more synergy between ad mediums
                                                                                              • Figure 24: Missguided/Love Island app, August 2018
                                                                                          • Interest in Diversity in Advertising

                                                                                            • Catering to the more diverse consumer
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Interest in diversity in advertising, October 2018
                                                                                            • A call for more body sizes
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Navabi ‘Beach Body Ready 2018’ campaign, May 2018
                                                                                            • Retailers are responding to women’s calls for body diversity …
                                                                                              • … but some question whether this is the right approach
                                                                                                • Beauty, age and ethnicity
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: White Hot Hair’s new line up of models, January 2018
                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Advertising

                                                                                                  • The rise and rise of feminism
                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Attitudes towards advertising, October 2018
                                                                                                  • A question of true diversity
                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Tesco’s Twitter response to availability of halal turkey at Christmas, November 2017
                                                                                                  • A call to action
                                                                                                  • Memorable Elements in Advertising Campaigns

                                                                                                    • Make ’em laugh
                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Memorable elements in advertising campaigns, October 2018
                                                                                                    • Does humour beat sentiment?
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Aldi and John Lewis Christmas advertising campaigns, November 2018
                                                                                                      • Young women seek more from their ad campaigns
                                                                                                      • Behaviours around Advertising

                                                                                                        • Advertising lacks overall engagement …
                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Behaviours around advertising in the last 6 months, October 2018
                                                                                                        • … but 16-24s indicate more encouraging behaviours
                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Behaviours around advertising in the last 6 months, by age, October 2018
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Fenty Beauty Instagram, 2017
                                                                                                        • Under-35s indicate interest in ethicality of brands
                                                                                                        • Positive Representations of Women in Advertising

                                                                                                          • A woman’s place is in the family
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Positive representations of women in advertising, October 2018
                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Twitter reactions to BBC Christmas ‘Wonderland’ advert, December 2018
                                                                                                          • Age shifts perceptions of positivity
                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Positive representations of women in advertising, by youngest and oldest demographics, October 2018
                                                                                                        • Attitudes towards Social Stereotypes

                                                                                                          • The universal issue of loneliness
                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Attitudes towards social stereotypes, October 2018
                                                                                                          • Binge-drinking; an issue that spans ages
                                                                                                              • Figure 39: ‘Riding High’ spinning class sponsored by Heineken 0.0, September 2018
                                                                                                          • Comfort with Discussing Personal Matters

                                                                                                            • Only the lonely
                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Comfort with discussing personal matters, October 2018
                                                                                                          • Barriers to Seeking Mental Health Help

                                                                                                            • Young women have most barriers to seeking help
                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Barriers to seeking mental health help, October 2018
                                                                                                            • Social media can be a force for good
                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Wisdo app, December 2018
                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                • Consumer research methodology