Sunday, August 3, 2008

Are You a PANK?

Dear Readers,

In order for marketing folks to best understand the segment that focuses on, we developed an acronym that describes the women most likely to join the Savvy Auntie Community: PANK.

stands for Professional Aunt No Kids.

A few years ago, DINKs were the new segment marketers had their eye on - Double Income No Kids. PANKs, while focusing specifically on women (married, partnered or single) who have no kids, is a pretty large market in the US. In fact, the 2004 US Census Report on Fertility reported that 45% of women up to the age of 44 did not have kids. And that number has been steadily growing over the last couple of decades.

It's pretty remarkable. And when you take an even closer look at this segment, some other interesting data bubbles up. I thought I would share our data with everyone interested in why I thought focusing a business on this niche might prove valuable to marketers seeking to reach women with consumer clout. (The fact that I just adore being an Auntie was the first inspiration, of course. But lo and behold it was a really convincing business model too! Who knew?!):

Key PANK Statistics:

Women without children: 45%*
*This fertility data does not include women over 45 whose fertility is greatly diminished. We surmise therefore that the total number of women without children is well over 50%, and over 25% of the entire adult population.

Childlessness is a fast growing factor among American women:
2004: 45%
2003: 44%
2001: 43%

Women are getting married later, if ever:
Median age for marriage for a woman in 1980: 20.8
Median age for marriage for a woman in 2005: 25.8
Single Women, Never Married in 2006: 26%

Even marriage does not ensure a family:
Married couples without children in 2006: 43%

All above sources U.S. Census

Being a woman means loving kids:
“Our surveys show that most women are child-centered, even when they don’t have or want children of their own… Nearly every single woman we know is a devoted aunt, big sister, godmother, or friend to the children of her relatives, co-workers, and friends. These relationships are often extremely close, and single women often talk about how enriching it is to be involved…”
Source: What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live; Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Conway. 2005

PANKS are Powerful:

85% of all purchasing decisions are influenced or made by women

68% of new car purchases are made by women as are over 50% of traditional “male products” like home improvement products and consumer electronics

*50% of single women own their own homes

**Single women are the fastest growing segment of new home buyers, second home buyers, car purchasers, travelers, new investors and more.

27% of households are headed by women

31% of women earn more than their husbands

Women are expected to control more than $22 trillion by 2010
Sources: Girl Power, * U.S. Census, ** What Women Really Want

So this is why I thought PANKs were an important segment of powerful women that were being overlooked by marketers. Truth is, when it comes to products and services that enable Savvy Aunties to make their nieces and nephews happy as can be, Aunts want to know about them. Plus, without kids of their own, Aunts have more discretionary income and time than most moms. That's why they are more likely to indulge themselves and the children in their lives.

When I approached why Mary Lou Quinlin,
CEO of Just Ask a Woman, a consultancy that advises Fortune 500 companies on marketing to women, for her thoughts on PANKs and months ago, she responded quite supportively. (Turns out, she's a Savvy Auntie too!) She even added her support in our launch press release: “These professional aunts are loved by their lucky nieces and nephews, yet often overlooked by marketers. Many brands are so focused on moms that they are missing the economic clout of these generous aunts who love to indulge the kids they never had with the gifts and experiences that they can afford. Savvy Auntie is the first site we've seen that's recognizing this powerful segment.”

(By the way, on a side note, Mary Lou Quinlan has been incredibly helpful with 'marketing to women' press inquiries and a really empowering force in my life recently. Thank you, Mary Lou!)

More news later this week about a couple of very important companies that did not need too much convincing to see that PANKs are the new Pink - the new segment of women that marketers should be focusing on. Well ok, I'll give you a "hint" about just one of them: Ford. In fact, I was invited to go
to Detroit this week as the founder of Savvy Auntie and the woman behind the term PANK, for a very exciting event. More about that soon!

Isn't this fun?!

Auntie Melanie

PS: Follow me on Twitter. There's more good stuff there!


  1. You know, for my wedding planning, my godmother who has no children of her own has stepped up. First offering help with flowers. But now putting together the entire program (I owe her copy!), visualizing the entire table layout scheme, and now putting together the entire music mix before the band takes over for the reception. I don't have just one MOB, I have two! MOB and GMOB (GodMother of the Bride). And I couldn't be lucker.

  2. The Census Bureau just released their latest Fertility Report. The news release on it is here:

    Also, I'm a mom and an auntie to 11 wonderful nieces and nephews. I think your site is a great resource for women who have children in their lives.

  3. Marie- Thank you for the Census Bureau press release on their latest Fertility Report. The number of childless women went from 44.6 in 2004 to 45.1 in 2006. The number of women without children keeps increasing. I am not saying this is a good thing. It's just that it means that there are more PANKs out there than ever before.

    Glad to hear you have 11 wonderful nieces and nephews and that you like! Welcome!

    Auntie Melanie

  4. PANK in the house! I'm not a 9-5 Professional, but still. :D
    Here via CityMama & her 40Whatever blog!

  5. thank you Melanie! I've been a PANK for years! my brothers and sisters all have children, and i'm godmother (both formally and informally) to so many of my friend's children. I love every moment of it! I look forward to reading this site and following it on twitter. I'm single, no kids, late 40's. :-)

  6. This is great, finally a place where Aunties can celebrate the wonderful kids in their lifes. I'm married,no kids, mid 40's and sooo happy I found this site. Thank you !

  7. This is fantastic idea whose time has come!

    I'm a PANK to 1 niece and 3 nephews and I love being able to treat them to the extra time and attention. Everyone lives in a different state and I think we have turned Skype into a virtual babysitting tool. My 4-year-old niece once said, "Leave the Auntie channel on" Ha ha! :)

    Jen H.
    Corinth, TX


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.