A new study by online audience measurement group UKOM, based on ComScore data, has found that women in the UK tip the scales for smartphone internet time, taking a 52% share.

The study on 75,000 users over the most popular websites found the female population to spend the majority of their internet time – 49% – on smartphones. That figure climbs to 59% when focusing only on the millennial generation, between 18 – 24 years old.

The findings for men, on the other hand, are more or less the opposite; 48% the UK’s male population favour a PC or laptop to satisfy their browsing habits, spending a much lower 39% of browsing time on mobile.

Social, retail, gaming

The study found that in April 2016 the UK’s female population accumulated 4.8 billion more social media minutes than men on their smartphones, or roughly five and half more hours per female smartphone internet user.

“Phone conversations as a method for sharing information and catching up are increasingly being usurped by smartphone apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and the like,” commented UKOM’s director of insight, Julie Forey.

“Men still use these services on their phones, but just not to the same extent.”

In the same period, women also spent 1.5 billion more retail minutes on phones than their male counterparts (1 hour 43 minutes more per person), and 1.4 billion more on games (1 hour 38 minutes more per person).

A new era

Forey adds that while methods of communication have changed over the years, there’s a lot digital marketers can take from how communication companies have approached gender differences in the past.

“Understanding how consumers’ online behaviour differs by platform can help agencies and advertisers plan campaigns more effectively, such as knowing men don’t dominate mobile time as they do on computers,” added Forey.

“This is exactly what BT did in the 1980s after identifying women were actually the heaviest users of its landline service, being more disposed to chat with friends and family.

“They used this insight to create their hugely successful ‘It’s good to talk’ campaign to encourage those who didn’t use the phone as much – namely men – to use it more to connect with people and improve relationships.”