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Women drive mobile internet time

News, 03 June 2016

LONDON: Women in the UK are more likely than men to use the internet on their mobile phones, according to a new study.

UKOM, the body responsible for online audience measurement, analysed comScore data, based on a combination of measuring the internet behaviour across different devices of a panel of over 75,000 people and census network, including tagging over half of the UK's 250 most popular websites and a selection of high volume apps.

It found that 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 them, PCs/laptops remain the main device for going online, accounting for 48% of their internet time, compared to only 35% among women; tablets make up the rest.

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," said Julie Forey, UKOM's Director of Insight.

"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," she added.

As an example, she cited a famous BT campaign from the 1990s, when the telco identified women as the heaviest users of its landline service. It's good to talk encouraged men to use the phone more to connect with people and improve relationships.

UKOM's analysis also revealed that women's smartphone time far outweighs men's on social media. In April 2016, the average female smartphone user spent an average 329 more minutes per month here than men.

The difference was less pronounced, but still significant, in retail (103 more minutes) and in games (98 more minutes).

For other activities, including photos, books and health, the differences over the course of a month dropped to under an hour.

"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," Forey noted.

"Men still use these services on their phones, but just not to the same extent."

Data sourced from UKCOM; additional content by Warc staff