Women outnumber men online in US

Updated: 2007-04-13 15:50

San Francisco - A study released on Thursday indicates that more women than men go online in the United States, defying the perception of the Internet as a male-dominated realm.

Approximately 97.2 million women use the Internet in the United States, compared to 90.9 million men, according to research by eMarketer.

"There are absolutely more things women do online than men do," said eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson, author of the "Women Online" report.

"Women are the supreme communicators and the Internet makes it easier for them to communicate and socialize."

For example, Williamson added, women and girls make up the majority of the users on popular social-networking website MySpace while only 45 percent of the audience at video-sharing website YouTube.

"Social networking, in general, is very big with women," Williamson said. "Particularly young women interested in meeting people and talking with friends. It fits very well with the lifestyle."

Seventy-eight percent of male US Internet users will watch video online this year while 66 percent of the female users will, according to eMarketer.

Reasons given for the difference in video-viewing proclivities included men adopting new technologies faster than women and having greater access to high-capacity broadband Internet connections needed to handle data-rich video streams.

When women watch online video, they are most interested in news, weather, music and movie clips, according to eMarketer.

Women are less likely than males to visit video websites and not drawn to "silly videos" such as those abounding on Google-owned YouTube, Williamson said.

Women are inclined to use the Internet to accomplish tasks instead of as a diversion, according to the eMarketer report.

"Females, especially adult women, are more likely to use the Internet to get things done, rather than to have fun," the eMarketer report states.

"Many adult women, busy juggling work with their relationships and child-caring responsibilities, don't have time to surf the Web for video."

More women are expected to take up viewing video online in coming years as broadband connections become ubiquitous and television shows they like are made available on the Internet, according to eMarketer.

"Early data indicate that female teens are as enthusiastic as male teens about online video," Williamson said.

"The networks are well-positioned to drive greater female online video usage by offering more programming that appeals to females, particularly adults."

When women play online they prefer "casual games," such as computer versions of board, card or word games, over battle games with proven appeal to the opposite gender, according to eMarketer.

The eMarketer study estimates that 66.2 percent of female US residents three years of age or older will use the Internet this year as opposed to 64.2 percent of male residents in the same age range.

Women outnumber men by approximately five million in the United States, according to 2005 census figures.

"Even within the populations of men and women you see more women than men using the Internet," Williamson said.

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