The debut report from the Online Behavior and Demographics service of web research firm Jupiter Media Metrix has highlighted several differences in the web habits of American women with children and those without.

Most significantly, the survey shows that internet usage eats into the television consumption time of mothers more than their childless counterparts, with some 44% of women with children saying that surfing reduced TV viewing.

“Because women with children often have time constraints, and therefore a limited time budget for media consumption, increased use of the internet is more likely to cannibalize time that was once spent watching television,” explained Jupiter analyst Jon Gibs.

“Advertisers and programmers interested in reaching mothers should therefore consider increasing their online marketing efforts relative to TV advertising.”

Another difference between the two groups is the uses to which the web is put. Women with children go online to research school projects (40% of respondents), play games (29%) and download music (29%), while those without are more likely to visit travel sites (54%), research work-based projects (41%), read news (47%) and look at stock prices (20%).

In addition, mothers tend to use the internet to shop around for bargains, being far more likely to use coupons obtained online to purchase products and services. Women without children, on the other hand, tend to be more brand loyal and spend more dollars online due to higher disposable incomes.

Up to 49 million women aged 18 to 49 will be online by 2006, forecasts Jupiter, plus an extra 8m female students.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; Jupiter Media Metrix; additional content by WARC staff