Women log on to e-shopping

The US internet population of 92 million now comprises 46% women, a growth of over 3% in just nine months.

Recent studies conducted by US Nielsen Research and Commerce-Net show an 80% increase in the number of women shopping online.

This brings the US female consumer population up past the ten million marker.

These results are also backed up by the Strategis Group.

Matt Page, Strategis Group consultant, says: “The Internet’s days as the domain of technology-orientated men are over. Companies advertising online and doing e-business will fall behind unless they understand how this shift towards more females and more mainstream users overall will affect them.”

Taking into account this female demographic shift and the assumption that most internet users are educated, it seems surprising that sexist language is alive and kicking on the net.

Most notable is the use of the term webmaster, which is being parodied by female web developers with a sense of humour calling themselves webmistresses.

Women have traditionally been the target of many offline marketing campaigns, due to the fact that it was the woman at home who purchased the family goods.

Although circumstances have changed, women are still a powerful buying force, and this is quickly being translated into the online medium.

However, many women are still faced with conceptions that the world of technology is not their place.

In fact, recent research indicates that women have a very pragmatic approach to online purchasing. Throw away the glitzy design, cut the marketing babble – just tell the female online buyer what you sell, how much it costs, and where to type in the credit card number seems to be the order of the day – and please no sexist language.

Women off-line consider the weekly shopping ordeal: loading the kids in the car, parking, then dragging them around the supermarket, only to have to unload kids and shopping at the other end.

The appeal of online shopping – stores open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without even having to leave the house – seems to offer shopping utopia.

Australian online shoppers spent $139 million last year with the leading purchases being books, music and software, as www.consult revealed.

Books and music rated highly among women as their favoured online purchases, while men dominated software consumption.

Men, overall, dominated last year as online consumers. But as companies such as move ahead in Australia, the question is – who will do the shopping then?

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