Women outpace men online in number and growth rate

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Media Metrix and Jupiter Communications have released a report about women’s online behavioral patterns across various age groups and life stages. Media Metrix and Jupiter analysts examined websites with the highest percent composition of females in each stage of life – from schoolgirls to older women enjoying their senior years – yielding compelling insight on usage patterns within each age group.

Highlights from the report include:
• The number of women online in Q1 2000 surpassed that of men for the first time ever in the U.S.
• The population of women online is growing more rapidly than the online population overall.
• Girls 2-11 are most heavily concentrated within television-related websites, licensed merchandise, music, and learning.
• The most notable increase by age group from 1999 to 2000 was among girls 12-17, which increased more than 125 percent.
• Sites with the highest composition of females 12-17 remain firmly clustered around several key user interests: teen-targeted fashion magazines, shopping, and music. The number of teens increased 126.3% over the past 12 months.
• The number of females aged 18-24, on the other hand, decreased slightly during the same period.
• Women 55+ have the highest audience share within family, health, genealogy and joke/fun pages.
• European women, as in the US, also use the Internet to gather specific information to make their lives easier, rather than indiscriminate surfing across many different sites. Among the most popular sites for women in Europe are those with information on retail, careers and travel.

“As Internet users establish a distinct presence across virtually all age and gender lines, content providers continue to develop targeted websites that mirror the needs and interests of specific populations,” said Anne Rickert, data specialist, Media Metrix.

“Niche sites may not draw the most significant number of unique visitors overall, but they often boast a heavier concentration of users from key demographic groups. For example, women in the 24 to 35 age bracket are most highly concentrated among sites offering content, advice and community focused on childcare.”

“It’s no longer enough to think of women as the target audience. To reach the women’s market sites must pursue deeper relationships, based on interests, personal identities, and affinities,” said Anya Sacharow, an analyst at Jupiter Communications. “The sites that will be most successful in capturing future potential revenue from this market will target women through deeper segmentation.”

The number of female unique visitors increased dramatically over the past 12 months in all but two age groups, females aged 18-24, which decreased by 4.5% and women 35-44, with only minor growth of 4.6%. All other female age groups outpaced the Web’s overall 12-month growth of 22.4%.

The most dramatic growth during the year occurred among teenage girls aged 12-17, which increased from 1,956,000 to 4,426,000 unique visitors, a percent change of +126.3%.

Women 55 were just barely outpaced with their unique visitor count climbing from 1,592,000 to 3,335,000 for an overall 109.5% increase.

The youngest users, girls 2-11, had notable gains of just over 53%, as did women aged 44-54. In comparison, the greatest percent gain among male web users was 45.4% for 12-17 year olds, followed by males 55+ with 22.2% growth, and males 18-24 with 17.8% growth.

The fastest growing online population of females in Europe is in Germany, where the number of females aged 14 or over grew from 27.3% in January this year to 31.7% of the total online population in June 2000.

In terms of total unique visitors, the properties that draw the highest number of females reflect the top Media Metrix digital media and web properties overall. They include familiar brands of portals, search engines and other consolidations that routinely lead the monthly rankings. These properties offer wide-ranging content to a broad demographic group of users, and thus their composition generally mirrors that of the online population as a whole.

Media Metrix utilizes its patented metering methodology to track Internet behavior in real-time – click-by-click, page-by-page, minute-by-minute. The company has a sample of more than 100,000 people under measurement worldwide, yielding monthly, weekly, and daily data collection and reporting.

Jupiter Communications’ research services are provided primarily through its continuous subscription services. Jupiter also produces a wide range of conferences that offer senior executives the opportunity to hear firsthand the insights of its analysts and the leading decision-makers in the Internet and technology industries.

Jupiter Communications


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