Reflecting on the success of the various initiatives to get Indian women online, Google, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, announced that there had been significant growth in internet usage by women users who are now spending more time on search than men.
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The highest percentile of growth (YoY) in terms of time spent on Google search has been witnessed in the middle-aged category. The growth in terms of the time spent on search recorded by women in the age group of 35-44 years outnumbers the growth of middle-aged men by 123%.
Google has also recorded a significant uptake in search usage by middle-aged women (above 55 years). In 2015 this category outgrew the user base of younger women (15-24 years) and working women (24-35 years).
Interestingly, in terms of growth in ‘search minutes’, women outnumber men in younger age groups as well. In the 15-24 age group, time spent by women grew 110% as compared to 104% by men. In the 25-34 age group, time spent by women grew 108% as compared to 98% by men.
Google also revealed that there are more mothers using Google search compared with fathers. One in three (33%) women who are mothers are on the web, while only one in four fathers are on the web.
Search by category
Looking at specific categories too, Google found that women beating men in multiple categories, and this was not restricted to fashion.
A recent report by IAMAI and IMRB highlights the male domination of the internet, with women users constituting about 29% of the total user base. In rural India, female representation is restricted to only 12%.
India currently holds the world’s third-largest internet user base after China and the US with approximately 325 million active users. Of this, 121 million users are on broadband while the rest are narrow-band internet users.
With the availability of low cost smartphones and more public WiFi connections (Google itself aims to touch 100 railway stations by end of 2016), the numbers will likely go up in favour of women in the next few years. A Google representative said,
The Internet is playing an incredibly important role in changing the lives of women in India. It is great to see how women are taking to the internet in greater numbers and increasing their time spent, even outpacing the time spent by men. This trend is likely to continue growing as India’s vast rural population of over 800 million comes online and experiences the power of the internet.
Also, on the occasion of International Women's day, Google paid tribute to women who have changed the course of history, sometimes in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles with a Google Doodle and got women from toddlers to grandmothers, in locations all over the world, to speak up about their aspirations.
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