Women to become biggest Internet users by 2007

Women's use of the Internet is catching up with men's and on current trends is set to overtake it next year, a new survey suggests.

In the last three years the amount of time women spent online has increased by 63%, compared to growth of 54% for men, according to a report by the European Interactive Advertising Association. Last year, men spent an average of 11 hours online a week compared with women's nine hours.

The EIAA Digital Women 2006 Report, which forms part of the ongoing Mediascope Europe Study, says the amount of time women spend watching television has increased by only 12% in the same three-year period from 2003, while time spent reading magazines has fallen by 4.5%.

Michael Kleindl, chair of EIAA, said: "Whether it's sharing opinions through blogging, saving time on the weekly shop with e-commerce or communicating more efficiently by instant messaging, the Internet is becoming increasingly integrated into the woman of today's lifestyle."

Internet usage is highest among the 16- to 24-year-olds, young professionals and women with children.

Today, 60% of women use broadband to go online compared with only 17% three years ago, and the fastest growing sites are for auction, shopping and banking or finance.

The study involved 7,000 random telephone interviews with 1,000 respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordics and 500 respondents in Belgium and the Netherlands. Interviews were conducted between September and October 2005.

The EIAA is a pan-European trade organisation for sellers of interactive media, whose members include AD Europe, AdLINK, AOL Europe, MSN International, Tiscali, Yahoo! Europe, Lycos Europe and T-Online International.

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