PROFILE: WOMEN

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Women have come a long way since the 1950s homemaker. They're not only raising children and managing households but also taking the American work force by storm.

Women made up 45.6% of the civilian labor force in 1993, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but influence about 80% of all automobile purchases, according to auto market researcher J.D. Power & Associates.

Numbers

Between 1980 and 1993, the number of U.S. households headed by women, whether with or without children, grew 32.3% from 21.1 million to 27.9 million. That accounts in part for why women are buying a growing portion of all cars.

Women accounted for 46% of total U.S. car sales in 1993 and, by the year 2000, women will purchase an estimated 60% of all cars, according to Power.

Psychographics

Safety is very important to women consumers. They look for features such as air bags, antilock brakes and traction control.

Selling to them

In advertising, important to women, even in ads for the general audience. Just the same, like any other consumers, women don't want to be patronized. As many women know, this rule isn't religiously followed, especially by dealers.

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