Women who shop til they drop are stimulating the economy more than any Ben Bernanke, but the planet's greatest spending bloc feels dissed by retailers and service providers. Women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending in the world—a figure likely to climb to $28 trillion by 2014. Despite the financial crisis, domestic spending in China in the first nine months of this year was up 15%, driven largely by women under 35.
"The current way companies appeal to women is to take a male product and paint it pink," says the co-author of a book based on the global study. A "Della" website pitching Dell computers to women by patiently explaining that netbooks can do more than email was quickly dropped when women "found it insulting." Women aren't only disappointed in retail goods, but are particularly annoyed at being treated as lightweights by the financial services sector, he added.