It's girls on top on the Web

Ecommerce being driven by gender differences as women e-shop 'til they drop

There is further proof today that women are making the Web a more feminine place to be -- the student dorm equivalent of girls buying air-freshener for communal toilets. It appears that the days when the Net was a landscape dominated by technology-oriented men are well and truly over. At the end of last year 38 per cent of US women used the Web closing the gap on their male counterparts to just eight per cent. In mid 1997, women trailed men by 21 per cent. But the study by the Strategis Group shows that, while the gender imbalance is disappearing, major differences remain in how the Internet is used. "The surge in female Internet use largely explains why clothing, for example, is the fastest-growing category of ecommerce, as female online purchasers buy clothing at a 4:1 ratio compared to males," said Jeff Moore, Internet consultant with the Strategis Group. Nothing to do with the fact that men dislike shopping for clothes and prefer buy their apparel online, then. "Alternatively, men buy software at a 3:1 ratio and electronics at a ratio exceeding 5:1," he said. Last week it was reported that more than 96 million women would be online by 2001 accounting for 45 per cent of worldwide Web users. ®

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