Compete: The Male vs. Female Debate Goes Mobile
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Compete Blog. Compete Inc. is a web analytics company that focuses on understanding how consumers use the internet.
A year ago, when Compete segmented smartphone owners by gender, the male population dominated the marketplace. But sometime in early 2011, that trend shifted rather dramatically and women started adopting smartphones in greater numbers. Females were now accounting for just over half the segment.
The wireless industry is starting to respond to the smartphone adoption by this segment in both its marketing efforts and its device selection. On Sept. 20, VZW released the HTC Rhyme. One of the key features that it touts in its advertising campaign is the Charm Call Indicator which dangles from your purse and lights up when you get a call or a text message. This marketing is on the opposite side of the spectrum from the very male-oriented targeting that we were accustomed to seeing with some of the large Droid campaigns.
So, does this strategy of marketing devices to particular demographics (in this case, gender) work? And do differences exist in how the two genders are using their smartphones?
Compete asked survey respondents if they performed a number of activities, ranging from sharing photos to conducting financial transactions on their smartphones within a given month. We’ve charted activities that did a good job highlighting some clear differences between the sexes.
Clearly, we see many of these activities skewing more to females:
- More females are socializing via mobile, whether it be via text messages, social networking sites, and sharing photos/videos with friends
- Females are entertaining themselves with online games and also using the device to shop online
While that data looks at activities performed, there is another way to approach this battle of the sexes and that’s by looking at what features people would find to be a “must have” in their next smartphone purchase.
The data shows that men tend to be more “feature driven” than women — when asked to consider a long list of “must have features” such as long battery life, the presence of a camera, fast internet browsing, wi-fi access and speakerphones, more men than women picked basically every single feature.
Discussion questions: Are the smartphone features wanted by women versus men enough to justify gender-based appliances and campaigns? How are smartphones evolving as a communication tool between genders? How do any gender differences impact mobile as a shopping tool?