Women Surpass Men as US Web Users

The first quarter of 2000 marked the first time the number of women online in the US surpassed that of men, according to a report by Media Metrix and Jupiter Communications.

The number of female unique visitors increased dramatically over the past 12 months in all but two age groups, 18 to 24, which decreased by 4.5 percent, and 35 to 44 with showed only minor growth of 4.6 percent. All other female age groups outpaced the Web’s overall 12-month growth of 22.4 percent. The most dramatic growth during the year occurred among teenage girls age 12 to 17, which increased from 1,956,000 to 4,426,000 unique visitors, a change of 126.3 percent. Women age 55 and older saw their unique visitor count climb from 1,592,000 to 3,335,000 for a 109.5 percent increase.

The youngest girls, age 2 to 11 saw unique visitor gains of more than 53 percent, as did women age 44 to 54, the report found. In comparison, the greatest percent gain among male Web users was 45.4 percent for 12 to 17 year olds, followed by males 55 and over with 22.2 percent growth, and males 18 to 24, with 17.8 percent growth.

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

Top Web Properties Among Women 18+
Unique Visitors
Rank Property Women 18+ All Users
1. AOL Network 23,972 59,230
2. Microsoft Sites 20,339 49,309
3. Yahoo Sites 19,774 48,851
4. Lycos 13,337 32,475
5. Excite@Home 13,240 28,571
6. Go Network 8,933 23,751
7. About.com Sites 7,335 17,926
8. Amazon 6,726 14,972
9. NBC Internet 6,534 16,489
10. AltaVista Network 5,694 14,183
Source: Media Metrix

According to MMXI Europe, the proportion of women among online users in Europe is also growing steadily. For example, the proportion of females aged 14 or older in the online audience in Germany grew from 27.3 percent in January to 31.7 percent in June. European women use the Internet to gather specific information or to investigate ways to make their lives easier, rather than indiscriminate surfing across many sites. Amongst the most popular sites for women in Europe are those with information on retail, careers, and travel.

In the UK, women represent the largest proportion of visitors to the retailer Tesco, to Egreetings.com, and to Handbag.com. In France, more women than men visit retail site Redoute.fr, women’s portal aufeminin.com, and travel site Ebookers.com. Retail sites Schlecker.de, Neckermann.de, the job site Arbeitsamt.de,and the free and cheap product and service listings site Geizkragen.de attract mostly women in Germany. Swedish sites that attract more women than men include retail site Ellos.se, Bluemountain.com, and travel site Always.se.

“Women using the Internet tend to be focused on practicality. They don’t waste much time on a variety of different sites but return to those which save them time or money,” said Arielle Dinard, Managing Director of MMXI Europe. “The Internet is the ideal medium to distribute information about bargains and tips and tricks that can be posted immediately and made visible to all. Women understand this and increasingly use the Internet to make everyday life easier.”

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