In the past few decades, there has been a tremendous shift in who makes shopping decisions in the household, switching from men to women. Well, not only do women make decisions on what to buy, but a new report by American Express says young women have been leading the spending during this economic recovery.

The study (analyzed by a sample of 90 million credit cards, four billion annual transactions and $620 billion in total spending) says women under age 45 who charge to their cards at least $7,000 per month have increased spending by 1 percent during the recession, and 23 percent during the recovery. The study also revealed that Internet spending has increased on sites such as, where women can purchase luxury items without going into a store.

But these women aren’t just shopping for new clothes and accessories…they’re also spending more money on others. Gifts, charities, children, and fitness were listed as the biggest spending increases among this group of women. Amex has since named this group “Golden Givers,” since these women increased card transactions of charitable donations by 4 percent during the recession and increased 12percent during the recovery.

Women over 45 spent 4percent less during the depression, which can be attributed to a smaller amount of time to earn more money for their retirement portfolios.

Men 45 and older (called “Material Men”) were the second largest spending group; however, their spending went more toward clothing and travel.

Although we’re all budget-conscious and weary right now, I think businesses could take a cue from Golden Givers and Material Men. Consider for a moment these words from J. Wesley Rosberg:

“I have yet to see any study that proves that timidity is the route to success. Studies consistently have proven that companies that have the intelligence and guts to maintain or increase their overall marketing and advertising efforts in times of business downturns will get the edge on their timid competitors.”