MUMBAI: Just 20% of smartphone users in India are women and they use the device in different ways to men, studies have shown.

Recent panel-based research by Nielsen indicated that women spend 125 minutes a day on these devices, 13 minutes less than men.

And where men are engaged with gaming, catching up on news and addressing their banking needs, women are more likely to be chatting in messaging apps and social media, while they also spend 30% more time on music-streaming apps and 10% more time with video-streaming apps, Media Business Asia reported.

A new study from the FCB Ulka agency, WomanMood, reinforced some of these findings.

Based on series of workshops and in-home interactions, it found that women's mobile phone usage was "functional" but added that "WhatsApp is really their playing field – it's all about instant chat, jokes, videos and group chats", the Economic Times reported.

The use of shopping apps by women smartphone users has risen sharply in the past year, according to Nielsen. In 2014 38% of women smartphone owners used these (compared to 43% of men) but a year later this had jumped to 59% (56% for men).

And their time spent on it amounted to 119 minutes per month compared to 103 minutes for men.

The popularity of shopping apps was, however, calculated on the basis of final transaction made. WomanMood noted that clothes, footwear and cosmetics were often searched and compared by younger women; it may be that rather more virtual window shopping is taking place.

Another factor here is that several ecommerce players in India have become app-only platforms and have sought to incentivise consumers to make the shift from the website with various deals only available on purchases made through via app.

The WomanMood study was not limited to Indian women's use of technology, exploring other areas such as money matters, health and grooming, worries and societal personas.

A picture emerged of a person with a pivotal role in the household but who is also more than just a wife and mother, and brands need to consider this in their marketing.

Data sourced from Media Business Asia, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff