Tech & Work

StatCenter: Gender on the Internet

Women are making their voices heard on the Net, from e-commerce to online trading. It's a good thing, too—since they spend more money on the Web than men do.

The Internet once was largely a male domain, but the gender gap has all but closed. Women now account for about half of the nation’s 106 million Internet users, a significant change from a few years ago, according to The Industry Standard.

Women also make up nearly 60 percent of new users. An April 2000 report fromNua cites an Angus Reid Group study that predicts that worldwide, women will overtake men on the Internet sometime this year.

As a collective audience, women bring with them different viewpoints and information needs than men, forcing companies to refine their Internet strategies to accommodate the differences. And when it comes to shopping on the Web, women appear to be looser with the checkbook. Only 30 percent of male Web users shop online, compared to 40 percent of female users.

A year-in-review Nielsen//NetRatings study indicated that women visit healthcare, pharmaceutical, clothing, and lifestyle sites, while men visit news sites.
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Women trade stocks online
Although only 5 percent of Internet users invest in stocks online, 42 percent of online traders are women, according to the Gartner Group, Inc., Dataquest report “Females help push the growth of online trading.” The study shows that the growth of women trading stocks online was double that of males between 1997 and 1999. Additionally, both men and women are increasingly managing their 401(k) and Keogh plans online.

Surfing at work versus surfing at home
According to Nielsen//NetRatings for February 2000, men made up 54 percent of users who surfed the Internet at work. Not only did men surf more at work, they also spent more time online—a monthly average of 22 hours versus 18 hours online for women.

The same Nielsen//NetRatings report shows that men log on at home for an average of 10 hours a month, while women surf for only eight hours—although each gender is equally represented in the at-home surfer numbers, with a 50-50 proportion.

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