Europe, U.S. on Different Sides of the Gender Divide
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Women Internet users hold the slight edge over men in the U.S., but not so in Europe. As of May 2003, 42 percent of European Internet users or 35 million people were women, compared to nearly 5 2 percent in the U.S. Nielsen//NetRatings doesn't expect European parity to occur until 2010.
Both Nielsen//NetRatings and Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's corporate parent) found the UK and Sweden to be at the forefront of European women's Internet usage, at roughly 41 and 44 percent, respectively.
|Percentage of Women Online,
Tom Ewing, Nielsen//NetRatings European market analyst, explains why the gender gap should be closed: "Because there is still the perception of the Internet as a very male-dominated place. That needs to change in order for a greater range of sites to win a large female audience. Changes are taking place but it's a very slow process in some markets."
|Average Online Retail Spending by Gender|
|Source: Jupiter Research|
American men and women shop for different types of items online, contributing to the disparity in spending between the sexes. Men are more likely to buy consumer electronics, sporting goods, software, computers and peripherals, cars and accessories, and video games than women. Meanwhile, bed linens and home fashions, personal care items and cosmetics, toys, gift certificates, jewelry and watches, and pet food and supplies account for the majority of female spending.
Nielsen//NetRatings monitored the sexes in August 2003, noting the top online destinations for each. Women visited diaper site, Huggies.com in droves, followed by DrPhil.com, and various cosmetic, clothing, jewelry, and gift sites. Men were drawn to electronics site, Creative.com, merchant CCBill.com, wireless manufacturer, Linksys.com, and various financial sites.