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UK Women Are Digital Communicators

Entertainment takes a backseat to utility and socializing

January 26, 2010

The widespread use of digital technologies is changing profoundly the lives of girls and women in the UK, but it is not—at least not yet—changing their fundamental concerns and motivations.

Communication and utility are top priorities for women, who use digital devices to stay in touch with friends and family as well as save time and help get their families organized.

“Women are much less likely than men to seek out entertainment or simply pass the time on the Internet or mobile phones,” said Karin von Abrams, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “UK Women: Trends in Device Use and Online Behavior.” “When they do go online to relax and unwind, this too has a social context. Women typically share content and experiences with selected friends or other people they know.”

Online Activities* of UK Internet Users, by Gender, 2009 (% of respondents in each group)

Although they make up a majority of the UK population, women are less numerous than men online, with 79% penetration compared with men’s 84%, according to Eurostat. Daily usage is high, however, and data from Nielsen indicates engagement is increasing.

Involvement in the social media world, where women’s adoption is outpacing men’s, is also rising. The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) found that in 2009, female Internet users were 8 percentage points more likely than males to have a social networking site profile, for example.

UK Internet Users with a Social Networking Site Profile, by Gender, 2007 & 2009 (% of respondents in each group)

“Social networks are a primary channel for women online to strengthen existing bonds with friends and family,” said Ms. von Abrams. “According to data from Universal McCann, women’s top activities on social networks in 2009 included managing their own profile and visiting pages or blogs maintained by people they knew. Men, by contrast, were more interested in making new contacts.”

The full report, “UK Women: Trends in Device Use and Online Behavior,” also answers these key questions:

  • Are there significant differences in the ways men and women in the UK view and use technologies such as mobile phones and the Internet?
  • What are women’s main priorities online?
  • What can marketers learn from women’s technological habits and preferences?

To purchase the report, click here. Total Access subscribers, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other article, “Engagement on Social Networks Top Priority for Marketers.”


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