Tech gadgets and video games have long been male-dominated categories, but trends are changing. Digital media is becoming a category where brands should expect women to have influence.

Women use of the digital keeps growing


The digital sphere was affected by women at a higher rate than ever by women in 2011, with media, devices and games showing markedly increased adoption by the fairer sex. As international research firm Parks Associates found, women now share more content online and download more movies and music than men. In a typical month, women are 73 percent more likely than men to have watched a full-length TV show online, the study shows.

More women intend to purchase CE devices, then become power users

But women are not only consuming more media - they also have higher purchase intentions than men for almost all popular consumer electronic devices, with one-fifth of women surveyed planning to purchase a laptop or a smartphone. Once this demographic becomes a device owner, usage surpasses practical and social applications to include all categories.  "Women are frequently the product buyers - and once she owns a CE product, she becomes a heavy user, most particularly for devices that allow sharing and uploading content and downloading TV programs," said Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates. "CE manufacturers are picking up on this changed buyer, offering their products, particularly their mobile ones, in more colors and styles with more personalized accessories.”

Facebook games, Wii and certain genres are played more by women

Women may or may not want pretty gadgets, but these changes are refuting some long-lingering stereotypes. Female gaming activity generally increased overall and especially after purchasing smart mobile devices. The gender difference still is prevalent within the content - women are 40 percent more likely than men to play Facebook games, yet they have dramatically increased their activity on gaming consoles. Currently, more women play Nintendo Wii than men, and nearly equal percentages of men and women own and play on Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3. Women play different games than men do, generally - especially multiplayer games that are not timed, such as Words With Friends, which allows each player to use her turn when convenient. "Reaching this consumer segment is critical to the success of CE manufacturers and service providers in 2012,"Parks said. "Give women practical and social reasons to buy, and as night follows day, their purchase and high usage follow."

By Ivory King