Consumer Behavior ResearchDigital Behavioural Data

How does mobile use differ between males and females?

By September 30, 2013 No Comments

RealityMine has been passively collecting consumer behaviour analytics and turning them into a series of Consumer Insights.  In this first Insight, we look at how mobile use differs between males and females.*

All of us, including we at RealityMine, often make assumptions as to how men and women use their mobiles, some of which can be stereotypical.  When we started analysing this data we encountered some interesting results, many of which were unexpected.

When you think of females, you often think of shopping, socialising and entertainment, and when you think of males you think of gaming, sports and politics.  But when you start looking at the ways in which males and females use their mobile devices it starts to become apparent that these assumptions just aren’t true!

Overall, across both genders, gaming equates to the longest duration of app usage.  Surprisingly, however, women play games on mobile devices more often than men and, on average, for 20% longer. Given than gaming is thought to be a male-dominated mobile activity, this makes for interesting food for thought for market research analysts.  The mobile industry, and particularly the growth of smartphones, has opened up gaming to everyone by capitalising on the availability of consumers via the app stores and, in particular, targeting the previously untapped female market.

mobile behaviour analytics

 Our observations also show that, when it comes to mobile shopping, men are ahead of women, spending an average 50% longer shopping on mobile devices.  Is this because women see shopping as a social, group experience whereas men tend to be solitary shoppers and find shopping on their mobile devices quicker and easier?  Or could it be that men prefer bargains and, with mobile devices always at hand, if they see something when they’re out and about they can easily compare prices online and then make an immediate purchase?

By using RealityMine’s passive meter (link) with location enabled, it would enable us to easily delve further and uncover the hard facts, rather than just making assumptions.  We could also add our advert tracker to ascertain whether the seeing or hearing of an advert triggers us to use our mobile device differently.

Another interesting variant uncovered by this data is the difference between how males and females use News, Weather and Info apps, with women spending over 50% longer on these than men.  It’s possible that this is due to the ever-growing number of gossip news apps now available – or are we again just making assumptions here and need to delve deeper to uncover the hard facts?

When it comes to core uses of mobile devices, the data reassuringly shows that there is little variance between genders with regard to the utilities, home screen, communication and app store categories, with both men and women recording very similar average daily usage.

For advertisers and market research analysts all these findings provide interesting material, offering a deeper insight into how they can successful interact with and engage their target audiences.


*Analysis based on research carried out amongst 426 male and female panellists, aged between 18 and 65, across a 4 week period.  RealityMine used mobile passive behaviour tools to monitor participants’ usage.