Gender differences in mobile Internet usage are blurring
The gender differences in the usage pattern continues to be the same as in previous Accenture surveys (which were limited to three countries—Austria, Switzerland and Germany) with more men (73 percent) than women (66 percent) using mobile Internet but there is evidence that the gap is narrowing. For example, in Germany, the differences have nearly disappeared with 59 percent of the men surveyed accessing the Web through mobile devices against 58 percent women compared with 37 percent and 17 percent, respectively in 2011. There are, of course, some countries such as Finland and Austria where the gender bias is significantly wide. However, results from Ireland, where the reverse situation exists with 78 percent of women and 76 percent of men using mobile Internet, also suggest mobile Internet use may follow the overall demographic gender profile of the country in time.
Receiving and sending e-mails continues to be the most pervasive use of the Internet on mobile devices with 70 percent using an e-mail program installed on their mobile device or via the website of an e-mail provider (60 percent). Phone or video calls via Internet ranks as the top activity among mobile device users (79 percent of the users indicated this service as “quite and extremely important”). However, a host of other activities such as messaging through social media, blogging and tweeting, and watching videos are also on the rise; 62 percent of the respondents said they access social media platforms and online communities through a mobile device, and an equal percentage use instant messaging apps. Mexico and South Africa are the top users of these services, especially instant messaging (83 percent and 82 percent, respectively), and blogging and tweeting (40 percent and 39 percent, respectively). Following closely are respondents in Brazil (73 percent) and Spain (70 percent) while France trails far behind with less than the average for all countries in the case of all these online services. The frequency of these activities is also trending upwards. The survey shows that of those into mobile blogging or accessing online communities or Twitter, over 80 percent did so more than once a week with younger people more active than older people: 53 percent of those aged 14-19 compared to 25 percent of those in the above 50 age bracket. This trend of using mobile devices for social media and online communities provides the key to understanding consumer behavior and many mobile phone manufacturers focus on providing userfriendly features or embedded platform for such activities.