Women are more likely than men to use the internet on their mobile phones, with social media, retail and games showing the biggest differences in engagement across genders, according to a new report.
The study was released by UKOM, the body responsible for online audience measurement, based on comScore cross-platform online data.
Half (49%) of all women’s internet time in the UK is spent on smartphones – rising to 59% among women aged 18-24. In comparison, just 39% of men’s online time is on smartphones.
For men, PCs/laptops remain the dominant device for going online, accounting for 48% of their internet time, compared to only 35% among women.
Consequently, women account for the majority (52%) of all UK smartphone internet time but just 39% of PC/laptop internet time.
“The old cliché that women spend more time on the phone than men turns out to also ring true for internet usage,” says UKOM’s Director of Insight, Julie Forey. “Understanding how consumers’ online behaviour differs by platform can help agencies and advertisers plan campaigns more effectively, such as knowing men don’t dominate mobile time as they do on computers.
“This is exactly what BT did in the 1980s after identifying women were actually the heaviest users of its landline service, being more disposed to chat with friends and family. They used this insight to create their hugely successful ‘It’s good to talk’ campaign to encourage those who didn’t use the phone as much – namely men – to use it more to connect with people and improve relationships.”
Sectors where women’s smartphone time most outweighs men’s
The data, from comScore’s multi-platform measurement system*, also reveals that women’s smartphone time most outweighs men’s on social media, retail and games website/apps.
In April 2016, women in the UK spent 4.8 billion more social media minutes than men on their smartphones – the equivalent of nearly 5 ½ hours more per woman smartphone internet user. Women spent 1.5 billion more retail minutes on phones than men (1 hour 43 minutes more per person) and 1.4 billion more on games (1 hour 38 minutes more per person).
“Women, with their more natural desire to connect with friends and family, as well as their predilection for shopping, play a much bigger role in driving internet use on smartphones,” says Forey. “Phone conversations as a method for sharing information and catching up are increasingly being usurped by smartphone apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and the like. Men still use these services on their phones, but just not to the same extent.”
The data is based on a combination of measuring the internet behaviour across different devices of a panel of over 75,000 people and tagging over half of the UK’s 250 most popular websites.