Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Men, Women and Online Activity

Remember when the Internet was the playground of men -- mostly young and geeky? eMarketer reported yesterday (enewsletter, March 24) that not only is “young and geeky” no longer true—men isn’t either. Their stats say that more women than men go online at least a month, with women constituting 51.8% of users and men being 48%.

They attribute this change in Internet demographics to the fact that there are more women in the US than men—roughly 51% to 49% according to Census figures. The second reason is the frenetic activity of female teenagers on the web. I’d add a third reason—the important family-related Internet uses of women, especially working women.

The teenage girls rationale is on target, according to Pew. In a study of how teenagers use social networking sites, they found teen girls more likely to create profiles. The difference becomes huge when you look at girls vs. boys in the 15-17 age group.

What about their older female counterparts? E-Tailing.com quotes other eMarketer statistics that show women heavily favoring the Internet for research before they buy. Women also frequently consult the Internet for health-related information. The iHealthBeat blog quotes comScore data that shows the Internet to be second only to medical professionals when women seek health information.

One of comScore’s fastest-growing web properties of 2007 was Everyday Health, with a growth rate of 349%. That made it the third largest online destination for women. Comscore adds that, “Women’s category leader, Glam Media, grew 213 percent during the year, due in large part to the addition of several new entities, including Quality Health Network, MyYearbook.com, and LifeScript.com, among others.”

Women are online in large numbers. The teenage demographic is certainly not to be overlooked, but it is older women who are researching and shopping for products and services that enhance their own well being and that of their families.
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