Women drawn to social media

The number of women attracted to the world of social networking has grown by a massive 53% in just 12 months, according to research by consumer magazine publisher IPC.

The Women's Space 2 study revealed that two-thirds of women count social networking as one of their regular online activities, compared with 43% in 2007.

The growing popularity of online TV, driven in no small part by the BBC's iPlayer, is reflected in the findings -- since 2007 it is up 39% to 43% of those women surveyed.

The report also found that one third of women have formed friendships with people they have met online and that a quarter of women have met online friends face to face.

All of those who participated in the survey, set up by IPC to explore the behaviour of women on the internet, had participated in social media activities, with 89% doing so regularly.

A quarter of women often read online forums, up from 18% in 2007, and a fifth post questions or answers (15% in 2007).

The survey found that 74% of women use the internet every day. The number of times they log on is also growing -- on weekdays an average of 4.2 times per day, compared with 4.01 times in 2007; and at weekends, women are accessing the internet an average of 4.13 times per day, compared with 3.57 times in 2007.

Elsewhere, the survey found that the proportion of women who shop online (57% of the sample) had grown 8% since 2007, and 60% use the internet to manage their finances, an increase of 9%.

Amanda Wiggington, IPC Advertising's director of insight, said: "This study shows us where women are on their internet journey, plus how they feel about the web, which points to effective ways to reach and communicate with them online.

"This is valuable knowledge for us and our advertisers and we're committed to tracking the changes in women's internet behaviour on an annual basis."

Women's Space 2 is part of IPC's Origin Panel, a research panel comprising 7,500 women.

Its first wave won accolades from the likes of the AOP, which awarded it the prize of Best Research Project, and Brand Republic sister title Media Week, which named it Best Research Initiative at the Media Week Awards.

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