Here Comes the 'She-Conomy'

Women will become a dominant force worldwide over the next decade.

September 11, 2011

Over the next decade, women—particularly those in emerging markets—will become a dominant force worldwide, assuming increased leadership responsibilities across business, government, and education.

And due to urban migration, improved access to education, mobile technologies, and the availability of micro credit, nearly one billion women will enter the workforce or start new businesses by 2020.

This move to the “she-conomy” is one of 20 trends that will shape the next decade, according to the Intuit 2020 Report, prepared by Emergent Research in partnership with Intuit.

In addition, women from generation Y, across race and ethnic lines, will dominate both college graduation rates and professional workplace entry, expanding their role in management and in professions such as law, business, and medicine, according to the report.

“Women will overcome the legal or traditional barriers that prevented them from participating in some regions by using virtual, mobile, and Internet technologies to run businesses without having to be physically present,” Intuit 2020 predicts.

This and the other demographic, social, economic, and technology trends Intuit 2020 outlines have major implications for financial services providers.

Namely, increased regulatory pressures, the rapid adoption of mobile devices, and heightened customer expectations will reshape the financial services industry over the next decade. To successfully compete in this new environment, credit unions must remain agile in responding to customer demand for personalization, accessibility, and value-added services.

Next: Four trends that will redefine banking

Intuit Financial Services, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, and Emergent Research identify four trends that will redefine the banking experience:

1. A new playing field for financial services

Increasing regulatory pressures and competition from both traditional competitors and new entrants will drive financial institutions to explore new business models, leading to greater industry collaboration, partnerships, and consolidation.

2. Shifting segments and changing markets

Customers both young and old will demand more from their financial institutions as aging baby boomers entering retirement and Gen Yers approaching middle age will have new financial needs.

Competition to serve mid-market businesses will intensify, slimming financial institutions’ margins. Meanwhile, the small business sector will continue to expand, with the total number of small and personal businesses expected to increase by more than seven million over the next decade.

Financial institutions must understand and find efficient ways to meet the needs of these businesses.

Subscribe to Credit Union Magazine3. The new customer connection

Technology will take center stage in serving customers. With increased cost pressures and a growing demand for flexibility, accessibility, and personalization, financial institutions must accelerate their use of technology to efficiently meet customer needs.

The financial services industry will combine cloud-based platforms and applications, advanced analytical tools, ever-larger data sets, and social and mobile computing to design and deliver value-added products and services to customers.

4. Reputation and relationships rule

Over the next decade, the financial services industry will shift its focus from transactions to customized value-added services.

Through a combination of both virtual and brick-and-mortar branches, banks will develop stronger, more personal relationships with businesses and consumers, helping them manage risk, build wealth, plan retirement, and anticipate health care expenses.

Institutions that provide useful customer insights will succeed.

Next: The socially connected marketplace

Three other key trend areas Intuit 2020 identifies:

1. The new consumer shapes the socially connected marketplace

The wide range of socially connected tools and services available around the world will transform communities and relationships, forcing people and businesses to adapt and operate in new and different ways.

For example, the role of nontraditional influencers, such as bloggers and social network contacts, will continue to expand as consumers increasingly turn to them to as a source for purchase decision information. Businesses will be forced to employ multiple, inter-connected approaches to reach new customers, most of which will reside on the Web.

2. New business models, new markets, new opportunities emerge

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineEmerging markets, already an important growth factor in the post-recession global economy, will gain additional importance and power.

For example, a new “global middle class” will emerge with more disposable income, leading to increased opportunity for businesses around the world, big and small.

More than one billion new middle class consumers will be added to the global economic community, most of whom will be younger than their counterparts in industrialized nations with older demographics.

3. Technology becomes ubiquitous

Technology advances will change how consumers live their lives and perform everyday tasks. In addition, businesses will be transformed as a result of global growth of the Internet, high bandwidth cloud computing, advanced analytical tools, and mobile services.

For example, society will produce data at an unimaginable rate; harnessing its power will be a competitive differentiator globally, eliminating the concept of data overload. Statisticians and others who crunch and analyze data will be in short supply.

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