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UK Net population jumps 40% to 11 million

More women, more kids, more over 35s

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The number of people using the Net has jumped by 40 per cent in the past year, from 7.8 million to 11 million in the UK. There are more women online than before, more children and more over 35s.

This is all according to market researcher MMXI and it's first year-long look at online demographics.

As proof that the consumer is catching on to the idea of being online, Mai Kim Coleman, the UK MD of MMXI, points to the increase in the duration of surfing session on last year. In November 1999, the typical consumer web surf lasted 24 minutes. Now it has risen to just over 40 minutes.

"Consumers are busy people," Coleman says. "They wouldn't be committing that amount of time if it wasn't worth it."

Significantly, the range of incomes online is now broader than ever. Over half of those connecting to the net regularly had household incomes below £25,000 - indicating that the net is not a playground for the rich.

There are also more women online, although they have a different profile from the typical male user. While men surfing the web are typically between 25 and 44, women are usually older, staring at 35 on average. The typical man would live with one other person, but the typical woman online lives with at least three other people and is massively more likely to have children.

As the number of women online has grown, so has the under 18 population and the UK has the largest online population under 17 in Europe. This group uses the web in a totally different way, the researchers found. "It is a different world out there," Coleman said.

The top sites for kids were Another.com, Breathe.com [very modern urbanist] and Worlds.net. For those who are old enough to vote, the top performers were MSN.com, Yahoo.com and Freeserve.com. The only site in the top ten with original content was BBC.co.uk. ®

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