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Women prefer to use text messages to keep in touch with friends, while men like to pick up their phones and make a call. New research from consumer group Mintel found that men are twice as likely as women to talk on their mobile phones.

The researchers have classified people according to the type of use they make of their phones, Reuters reports, and say they have identified a new group: social texters, people who keep in touch with friends by text message. A whopping 39 per cent of women fall into this group, compared with 25 per cent of men.

The findings seem pretty counter-intuitive - women are usually regarded as the more garrulous sex, after all. But Ellen Sheils, a market analyst at Mintel, thinks that women are just using their phones as social tools.

She told Reuters: "The fact that women are more likely to be texters could suggest that women now see mobile phones as extremely social tools. They can stay in touch with each other and make arrangements to meet without getting drawn into a long conversation."

Doesn't sound very social to us...

Still, of the nearly 2,000 people surveyed, 80 per cent owned a mobile phone, but almost half (45 per cent) were classed as emergency users, only using their phones very occasionally.

In the 13-14 age group, phone ownership was at 90 per cent. Sheils says that this is most likely to be a parental investment in safety, but argued that the youth market had great potential for growth, as younger users tend to be keen to upgrade their hardware. Only health issues presented a major barrier in this sector, she concluded. ®

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