Investment providers are failing to connect with a female audience, leading to a £15 billion gap between the value of investments made by millennial and generation X women and men, reveals Kantar TNS.  Combined, British millennial and generation X women (those aged between 21 and 53) hold £14.3 billion of investments – compared with a total of £29.3 billion among men of the same age. 

Alice Moss, managing director for qualitative research at Kantar TNS, comments: “We wanted to understand the root cause behind the huge gap in investment levels and found that a complex web of practical, emotional and unconscious barriers is inhibiting women’s participation in the sector. 

“We found that there is a fundamental difference between women and men’s levels of self-esteem and financial autonomy.  Women can feel embarrassed about their perceived lack of knowledge of the subject and talk about it less frequently with their peers; they also have less connection with the language and marketing used by financial organisations, and have too many other priorities which push investing off their list.  They’re also not helped by the fact that the sector has been slower than other industries in connecting with a female audience, boosting their self-esteem and reassuring them that they will not be judged.”

Kantar TNS found that financial autonomy contributes more to men’s self-esteem than women’s – and with men more likely to say they have above average levels of self-esteem than their female counterparts (38% vs 20%), women are disadvantaged from the start.

This is borne out by findings showing that women are considerably less financially engaged than their male peers – only 26% of millennial women considered themselves to have a high level of financial engagement, compared with 55% of men.  Women’s engagement barely increases as they get older: while 55% of millennial women said they had a medium level of financial engagement, the figure stands at 58% for generation X women. 

Alice Moss continues: “Women have more than 80% of the financial power over everyday spending, which makes this disconnect between financial services brands and the way that they are resonating with women something that the industry needs to address. 

“We know that women with higher self-esteem show greater levels of financial autonomy.  In fact, moving women up just one confidence decile could be worth £12.4 billion for millennials and £24.4 billion for generation X females – so it’s surprising to see so many providers continuing to miss the mark.

“The traditional approach that investment brands are taking obviously isn’t working for women.  There have been some moves in the right direction but we want to see these organisations truly stepping out of their comfort zone and attempting to reach women in a new way.  Done correctly, there’s an opportunity for something like a ‘This Girl Can’-type campaign in the sector – and the first to take the plunge could see themselves boost not only women’s confidence, but their own bottom line.”

Millennial women (born 1981-1997):

  • 4.4% have an investment product compared with 7.3% of millennial men
  • Value of investments: £3.6 billion,compared with £7.9 billion for millennial men

Gen X women (born 1965-1980):

  • 9.6% own an investment product compared with 16.1% of Gen X men
  • Value of investments: £10.7 billion, compared with £21.4 billion for Gen X men




These findings are based on three discrete pieces of research conducted in Q3 2018:

  • Attitudes to investing: an online, nationally representative survey of 1,220 men and 1,276 women.  Of this sample, 724 were millennials and 659 were generation X.
  • Exploration of investment journeys: extended interviews with millennial women and men and generation X women
  • What Women Want?: a blended qualitative and quantitative study comprising a seven-day online community of 30 women with a representative demographic followed by an online survey among a nationally representative UK sample of 2,000 men and women

The full report is available here

For further information, please contact:

Alyona Levitin / Neil Stanwix


+44 (0)20 7636 7366 /

About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 90 countries. With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer experience, we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business. We are part of Kantar, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. 

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