Women like talking to humans

The Pew Internet Project has released a new report – this time about how men and women use the internet. It’s based on US figures, but there is clear potential relevance for us too.  Two striking points for me were:

  • the absolute number of US women internet users is now higher than the absolute number of men (proportionately still slightly smaller, but there are more women than men)
  • there is a clear distinction in the perceived value of the internet – "men value the internet for the breadth of experiences it offers, and women value it for the human connections"

Some interesting implications for channels management and for our customer needs analysis:  does the product (or the pitch) need to be varied?   But Pew do go on to say

That said, men and women are more similar than different in their online lives, starting with their common appreciation of the internet’s strongest suit: efficiency. Both men and women approach with gusto online transactions that simplify their lives by saving time on such mundane tasks as buying tickets or paying bills. Men and women also value the internet for a second strength, as a gateway to limitless vaults of information. Men reach farther and wider for topics, from getting financial information to political news. Along the way, they work search engines more aggressively, using engines more often and with more confidence than women. Women are more likely to see the vast array of online information as a "glut" and to penetrate deeper into areas where they have the greatest interest, including health and religion. Women tend to treat information gathering online as a more textured and interactive process – one that includes gathering and exchanging information through support groups and personal email exchanges.