Net-savvy women of 2007
Did you know that most planets rotate anticlockwise, while Venus rotates clockwise? Somehow this may explain why women are more correct, more logical, more pragmatic, more sensual, more aware, and more social than their male counterparts (who are, let us say, simple domesticated pets). Women have always been trendsetters and have always shown the way, even in typical male bastions like hunting and war (lionesses hunt the best; and is not every war so far recorded in history somewhere linked to a woman?) Elementary then, to surmise that women always work towards individual progress on the micro level and towards human progress as a whole on the macro level. Her role in this tech-savvy Internet age is no exception. According to the The Boston Consulting Group more than 57% of online women are traversing the cyberspace for at least more than a year, with the advanced users logging in for more than six years.
The number of female web surfers grow faster than the overall Internet population, according to Neilsen//NetRatings. Females accounted for 52 percent or 55.0 million Internet users at home with a growth rate of 9 percent. Males comprised the remaining 48 percent of the total surfing population, rising three percent from 48.2 million to 49.8 million surfers.
“Men spent more time online, logged on more often, and accessed more content than women, despite being out-numbered by the female Internet population by more than 5.2 million surfers,” said Dawn Brozek, senior Internet analyst, Neilsen//NetRatings. “Generally speaking, women shoulder a majority of the household responsibilities and therefore, face a ‘time poverty’ at home, with less leisure time than men to spend on activities such as surfing the Internet.”
This shows that women zero in and stick to sites that are most relevant to them, while males generally surf around casually and flit from site to site, without any specific object of enquiry. A study by HarrisInteractive stated that 95% of the purchasing decisions were finalized by women in any average U.S. household, as almost 90% of the household finances were controlled by them. The interesting part is that most of the costly purchases were done offline after researching about them online; whereas, most of the less costly purchases were done online after researching about them online. This shows that online purchasing is gaining ground and finding favor with women as years go by. Also, that women are more discerning and without adequate research do not buy. While online, they do not just follow ‘impulse buying’, which is common in offline shopping. Besides online shopping, they also are interested in socializing and sharing views.
The net-savvy online woman has distinct online attitudes, experiences, and habits. She uses the Internet for varied purposes like exchanging experiences, advice, interests, emails, banking, online securities/commodities trading, portfolio management, work from home employment opportunities like medical transcription, medical coding, programming, typing, consulting, freelancing, etc. She actively participates in discussion boards, blogs, and forums. She regularly visits websites related to food & drink, cooking, parenting, diets and weight loss programs, pregnancy, celebrity gossip, albums, horoscopes, shopping, travel, inspiration, ideas, technology, music, entertainment, games, gambling, lotteries, interactive tools, careers, beauty, style, fashion, fitness, dating, nutrition, quizzes, romance, relationships, sexuality, health, news, current events, family, and any other issue that lights up the sparkle in her eyes, or flowers her fertile imagination, or enhances her expertise in domestic or commercial, standard or niche segments.
Nowadays, women shop at eBay, Shopping.com, Amazon after comparing prices at BizRate, PriceGrabber, and Frucall. The epicureans visit Epicurious or FoodNetwork. The travelers search SideStep or Kayak and later share their travel and other photos of memorable moments at Flickr. Those who want to know why the devil wears Prada or why Max Factor is naughty and nice prefer going to Glam, PopSugar, and Style Diary. For entertainment, they watch videos and movies at YouTube and NetFlix. The money minded undertake online stock trading and regularly checkout CNNMoney, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Marketwatch. Job seekers visit Monster or CareerBuilder. The directionless career seekers find counseling at LinkedIn or Ryze. Freelancers meet at eLance or Guru. For cool deals real estate finders check out Realtor or RealtyTrac or Rent.com. The affluent geeks and the techie divas update themselves at Cnet, Thinkgeek, Digg, and tech.yahoo.com. Moms get and give parenting advice at MomJunction, Mothering, BabyZone, and Kaboose. And all of them, without exception, discuss sex, secrets, and lies at MySpace, friendster, Orkut, hi5, Facebook, and Bebo. Of course, they also send emails, chat, and join groups at Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and AOL.
Woman per se, was, is, and always shall be, intrinsically woven into the warp and weft of the societal fabric. Earlier the society was limited to one’s village, which now with the Internet has encompassed the whole world. The Internet has truly made the world a big global village, and women were the first ones to recognize, appreciate, and embrace its numerous functions and benefits. Due to this first mover advantage, women gobble up the largest chunk of the Internet users’ pie.
Market research companies like eMarketer , Forrester Research, EPM Communications Inc., Datamonitor , JupiterResearch, Hitwise, ComScore Media Metrix, BSM Media, Neilsen//NetRatings, AndersonAnalytics, Borrell Associates, Cyveillance, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Fulcrum Analytics (formerly Cyber Dialogue) and scores of other notable research companies unanimously agree that more than 70% of the total US Internet population is comprised of women! This is the sole reason why so many websites focus on what motivates women, what frustrates them, and what needs do they have. Most of the women-centric websites deal with attitudes, behavior, style, tastes and preferences; thereby, attempting to present a unique insight into the buying and social patterns of today’s online women.
According to Alexa , the top 10 online women-centric sites in the category “On the Web” sorted according to the most popular are BellaOnline (a community of women members, experts and hosts exchanging experiences, encouragement, interests and advice), SoFeminine (women’s magazine featuring articles, celebrity gossip, readers’ albums, blogs and discussion boards), Handbag.com (offers advice, shopping opportunities and ideas, information, inspiration and community, horoscopes, interactive tools and games), BlogHer (#1 guide to blogs by women), WomanSavers (world’s largest database rating good and bad men, helps women worldwide avoid dating alleged cheating, lying or abusive men), CodeGrrl (free PHP/MySQL scripts, tutorials, resources and forums), NZGirl (New Zealand-based magazine for teen girls and young women), Femail (online lifestyle magazine, issued monthly, with articles, discussion forums, and regular columns), All for Women (by women, about women, …all for women, friendly forum, articles, and links) and Womensforum (an online portal for women linking to a dozen partner sites).
The wind is clearly blowing in favor of women and thus more websites are becoming more and more women oriented. It is evident that the Internet has changed traditional norms of the society, as it embraces different cultures of the world and tries to synthesize these cultural variations, attempting to make one unified culture, one global culture. Women have also changed and have become proactive as their lives are being changed by the ever-changing societal trends. A virtual knowledge boom has taken place and women fuel its growth. Slowly gender roles are being exchanged as mature groups come under women’s dominion. Due to great advances in healthcare, people live longer. They get greater time to pursue their chosen careers and this has led to economic independence in the lives of women. Economic independence has brought in its wake all types of independence, which has prompted women to postpone few milestone events of their lives, like marriage, settling down, becoming a parent, and raising a family.
Due to increased earning power, women have become the most prolific consumers, the biggest spenders, and the greatest demanding buyers. They relate to technology in a different manner than men. They are more interested in what the technology can do rather than how it does. They see the usefulness of the Internet and use it accordingly to satisfy their needs, cravings, and wants. Advertisements go on testing women’s endurance, skill, and patience with the superwoman myth, who is successful both as a high-flying career woman and is also a loving wife cum a devoted mother. The media plays an influencing role in the trends of dress, food, beauty and body image. Education, fitness, nutrition, and healthcare websites are all gearing up to meet the hectic lifestyles of women. Women oriented websites employ feminine humor, deliver tension-relieving experiences, promote sociability, and facilitate amicability.
Venture capital would be easy to obtain for websites who aim to target the women audience. It has been found out the online purchases a woman makes is directly proportional to the time spent at the website. Thus Marketing & Advertising will also try to evolve newer and better ways of keeping the women engrossed at their websites. Women also forge strong online loyalties with the sites that they like. Due to their having less time on their hands, they go to their favorite sites immediately and buy what they need, after satisfactory prior research has been completed on it. This increases repeat customers for the websites, and increases web traffic due to word-of-mouth advertising. The majority of the netizens have always been women, and the feminization of the e-commerce websites ensures it will remain so, at least for the next decade or so.