A majority of US women use social networking sites, and half of them say social networking sites influence their shopping habits, according to a recent study on online social networking among women from social media platform SheSpeaks.
According to the SheSpeaks Second Annual Media Study (pdf), 86% of US women now have a profile on at least one social networking site, a 48% increase from 58% who had a profile in 2008. Since 2008, the percentage of women reporting they log into their social networking sites at least once a day grew 36%, from 53% to 72%.
Of particular interest to retailers, 50% of female social media users say they have purchased products because of information on social networking sites, and 40% report they have used coupon codes found on social network.
Facebook Most Popular
Facebook is the most popular social networking site among women. Some 95% of respondents who have a social networking profile say they use Facebook, a 46% increase from 65% last year. MySpace dropped 33% in popularity, with 42% of female social networking participants reporting they have a MySpace account, compared with 63% in 2008.
Twitter, which was included in the study for the first time this year, has a 38% participation rate, SheSpeaks said.
“Although Facebook is currently more popular than Twitter among women, they each share a purpose in women’s lives,” said Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks. “Facebook serves women’s need to interact with friends and share photos, while Twitter has become a tool that is primarily used for professional networking and learning about up-to-the-minute news, promotions and deals.”
Hearing what friends are doing, having fun and expressing themselves top the list of reasons why women say they use Facebook and Twitter, though more women visit Facebook to express themselves and have fun. However, a higher percentage useTwitter to learn new things, promote themselves/their work and follow celebrities.
Online Video Grows in Popularity
The study also found online video has grown in popularity over the last year. Almost 40% of the women in the study report that they frequently watch video and TV content online, and 85% say they watch it frequently or sometimes.
A separate poll of SheSpeaks members found that clips from news and TV programming were the most commonly watched type of online video in the prior week (68%), followed by videos that are forwarded (49%), full news and TV programs (40%), and videos posted by friends (40%). Entertaining advertisements were the least popular type of video, but were still watched by one-third of women within the last week.
The study paints a more optimistic picture of social networking’s growth in popularity among US adults than other studies released earlier this year, reports Retailer Daily. According to the most recent Consumer Internet Barometer report from The Conference Board, released in June 2009, growth is occurring but not as rapidly as indicated by SheSpeaks study. The Consumer Internet Barometer indicates 43% of internet users participate in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. This is a 16-percentage-point jump from the 27% of users participating in social networking sites a year ago.
Online social networking participation has especially grown among users ages 55 and up, the study found. Last year, only 6% of internet users in this age group participated in online social networking, compared with 19% this year.
About the study: The Second Annual Media Study is based on responses 1,500 adult women who are members of the SheSpeaks social networking community gave to an annual survey.
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