Women around the world use social media for almost everything. But that doesn't mean they're ecstatic about what the digital life is doing to the rest of their lives.
A research collaboration between MSL Group and Randi Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media, editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated and former marketing director at Facebook, suggests that social media is a core channel to reach the "collective intelligence" of other women for advice, information and relationship boosters.
Results of the project, "The Social Wisdom of Wired Women around the World," a survey of 3,600 women in Brazil, urban China, the UK and the US in August and September, suggests that women use social and digital for buying goods and services at double the rate that they use traditional media. And that holds true regardless of whether the item in question is bought online or in stores.
But the poll data also suggests that women aren't satisfied with the whole online experience in terms of how it affects the rest of their lives. Fewer than half of the women polled said technology has a positive influence on their families.
Only 34% of wired women share passwords to an email account with a spouse or a significant other, and only 28% share social media log-ins. The study also finds that 44% of wired women in Brazil and 42% of wired women in China monitor their child's online behavior, while only 28% of those in the U.S. and 18% of women surveyed in the U.K. keep an eye on what their kids are doing online.
Each country also differs from the others in what women seek online. Women in Brazil, for instance, respect online reviews and rating services to a greater degree than women in other parts of the world, per the study.
The study finds that women in China prefer mobile technology to manage key tasks more than women elsewhere. Ownership of tablets among women respondents in China was twenty percentage points higher than in the other markets combined. Ninety-one percent of Chinese women surveyed said they have smartphones, a twenty-one percentage point gap over all studied markets combined. Also, 68% of respondents in China prefer their smartphones or tablets for paying bills online. By contrast, 64% of women in the U.S., 60% in the U.K, and 53% in Brazil prefer their computers for that task.
For women across all countries studied:
- 88% of respondents said they went online to research products, and services.
- 82% said they compared prices online.
-70% said they looked for coupons and discounts on the Web.
- 51% said they went online to buy clothes.
- 39% said they made online purchases with smartphones
- 36% used tablets to make purchases
In the U.S. the dominant purchases in the past year by women who use the internet for at least two hours per week -- and not for work -- were personal care products, clothing and shoes, food, health and wellness, prescription meds, home electronics, cars (research) and financial services.
The study found that the preferred channel for everyone except for women in China is Facebook, with 94% of women in Brazil, 77% in the U.S. and 74% in the u.k. saying they used the channel at least once a week. In China it's either Qzone or Weibo.
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