Women use the Internet differently than men, or do they? Sure, they fit the female stereotype of gossiping and shopping, but with a bit of research you could be in for a surprise.

Of course, you know that males 15-24 years of age are gaming addicts. But are you aware that older females, those over 55, also spend a lot of time enjoying on-line gaming. So says data accumulated by comScore, a company that measures and evaluates digital behavior, such as ecommerce, social media, search habits, mobile trends, and advertising effectiveness. Their information is highly valued by the likes of ESPN, Verizon, Deutsche Bank, Yahoo, Microsoft, and the BBC. Their data pool comes from two million Internet users worldwide who have given comScore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and purchase behavior.

A recent study compared women and men in comparative age groupings. It is of note that the senior staff of comScore are women. Their studies brought to light what some may say are surprising results, along with expected ones.

Shop 'Til You Drop - Most common use of Internet for women these days
Shop ‘Til You Drop – common misconception that this is what women do the most on the Internet. Truth is somewhat different… can you say adult content?

You might chuckle remembering the female mantra "Shop ?Til You Drop". In the US, women generate 58 percent of ecommerce dollars [making Business-2-Consumer companies very happy], even though they make up slightly less than half the Internet population. Women traditionally have done the family shopping, both on-line and in brick and mortar stores. From party favors, wedding invitations, baby furniture, groceries, school clothes, household items, pet care, and even their husband’s underwear, it’s the woman who does the shopping. The Internet hasn’t suddenly changed all that, other than to make it easier and less time consuming. The guys are still the major purchasers of sports, software/hardware, electronics, and automotive, and they take advantage of on-line trading, but women match men in managing their money on-line.

As to games, women enjoy them too. These feminine gamers aren’t so much into action and adventure games, although they do play. With grannies leading the pack, they spend more time on puzzles, card, and board games. Solitaire, [for widows and old maids?], Sudoku, and Scrabble keep them digitally entertained.

Mature Content Warning on one of many websites out there
Mature Content Warning on one of many websites out there

In less tame categories, you’ll find that one third of the women surveyed went to sex-themed sites, while one half the men were also voyeurs. In fact, women spent more Internet time on adult content than on health, clothing, parenting, and family oriented sites. Wanna bet those stats are right? If so, you could just as easily be a woman as a man. Men and women partake in on-line gambling in almost equal numbers.

North American women fall behind their counterparts in Asia more than two to one for being Internet users. Population probably has a lot to do with that. China has more people in general, and more women on-line than all of North America. If you combine women in China with those in Japan, South Korea, and India, you come up with more on-line women than you’ll find in Europe.

Everywhere, social networking by women is on the rise. CyWorld, the most popular social network in South Korea compares Facebook by 15-24 year olds at over 350 minutes, to social networking by 45-54 year old women who are not far behind at 300 minutes. Russian women top that on Vkontakte where a 45-54 year old woman typically spends almost 450 minutes on the site. Emailing is greatest in the 45 plus age group.

Photo SharingWomen around the world love showing off their children and grandchildren, and the photo sharing aspect of social networking is a biggie with older women, although the younger crowd holds the record so far. Worldwide, the average woman spends 16.3 percent of their on-line time on social networks. Men lag behind at only 11.7 percent. Men also fall behind women in time spent watching YouTube videos. However, men shine when it comes to smartphone usage – even though, in cameraphone category women are the one that take the lead. Looking at percentage of SonyEricsson Cyber-shot users, one can conclude that women are in the lead.

All this is very interesting to sociology majors, but advertisers, software developers, website administrators, and ecommerce entrepreneurs might want to take a few notes. Learning about on-line behavior, while curious, and fodder for Trivial Pursuit moments, it can certainly be profitable if you know how to interpret and use the data.