In the early days of tech and the internet, conventional wisdom said that these were boys’ toys – women weren’t interested and would never be. So tech was marketed at young men in the 18-35 demographic. But these days, it’s… the same. However recent research has uncovered that this received wisdom is outdated and not doing any favours for brands.
Why? Because from computers to eReaders, GPS devices, tablets, social networking, Skype and a whole host of mobile phone services, women are the leading adopters in western countries. Brands will need to pay attention to this demographic if they want to maximise their sales, instead of the kinds of regressive, sexist marketing that often goes on, presumably in order to target a male demographic (the Huffington Post has collated examples).
The research comes via Dr Genevieve Bell, a social scientist and anthropologist at Intel, who presented her findings to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Conference last year. She suggests that women – specifically those aged 40-60 are fundamentally remapping the world through their technology use.
The findings also note that women – still primary caretakers for young children – are in some ways the gatekeepers of technology use in families. As they are doing the purchasing, they are also mediating what the kids can use – another thing worth noting for tech brands:
Bell noted that:
“Most consumers don’t own devices just by themselves, those devices exist within social networks. Consumers share devices in families.”
There is a large and widely acknowledged gender gap in technology companies, which is presumably part of the reason why women are being so unilaterally ignored by their marketing teams. You could be forgiven thinking that all tech and digital products were made by men, for men.
Women seem to be adopting the technologies despite the current marketing, but brands would be well advised to ensure that they are meeting their key demographics in the market to ensure their requirements, interests and uses are being catered to. This doesn’t mean jumping on the “technology made for women” bandwagon like this ill-advised Fujitsu offering (pre-installed apps feature scrapbook and horoscopes), but finding out how technology – which is inherently gender neutral – is being used in daily life at work, at home and at leisure.
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