Females now constitute an undeniable majority of the US Internet population.
eMarketer estimates that there will be an estimated 97.2 million female Internet users ages 3 and older in 2007, or 51.7% of the total online population. In 2011, 109.7 million US females will go online, amounting to 51.9% of the total online population.
Estimates from other research sources concur that females represent the majority of US Internet users, ranging from 53% (Arbitron and Edison Media Research, for Internet users ages 12 and older) down to 50.6% (comScore Media Metrix, for Internet users ages 2 and older).
According to eMarketer’s analysis, female Internet usage has surpassed male usage for some time. Other researchers are now coming to that same conclusion.
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future reported that in 2006 the percentage of females who went online had, for the first time in the six years the center has conducted the survey, surpassed males. It reported that 78.4% of the female population ages 12 and older go online, vs. 76.7% of males.
Female usage has risen 12.4 percentage points since 2000, while male usage is up 3.2 points. The drop in male usage between 2005 and 2006 is something that bears close attention, and eMarketer will report on the results from USC’s 2007 survey when it becomes available.
Not only do females make up the majority of Internet users, but more of the female population goes online. This year, an estimated 66.2% of US females ages 3 and older will use the Internet at least once a month, compared with 64.2% of males, according to eMarketer. By 2011, 72.1% of females are expected to go online, vs. 69.3% of males.
Researchers that survey only the adult population still find that a greater percentage of males go online. MORI Research, for example, reported that as of March-April 2006, 73% of adult females and 79% of adult males went online. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that as of February-April 2006, 71% of adult females went online, vs. 74% of adult males.
eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson thinks that current trends will shape future Internet demographics and usage.
"For girls who have grown up with technology," says Ms. Williamson, "there is no significant gender gap in Internet usage, and the rise of activities that are particularly appealing to young females, such as social networking, will result in even greater usage."