New Delhi: Women talk more on the phone. So says the just-released Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights survey. Shedding light on the phone usage habits of the sexes in India, the survey spotlights the increasing importance of women for smartphone companies.
“In the current economy, women are increasingly important decision makers, both inside and outside their homes,” said Farshad Family, managing director, media, at Nielsen India. “Taking this into consideration, capturing smartphone data is an innovative method of understanding how women use the device beyond making calls and sending text messages.”
A key finding of the survey: women spend on an average three hours more on calls than men. They also spend four times the amount of time men spend on instant messaging (or chat) applications. They use chat clients such as WhatsApp, Google Talk and Nimbuzz.
“They like to share and talk about things. They make a better brand ambassador for a chat app compared with men,” said Jamshed V. Rajan, chief product officer at Nimbuzz.
Adds Varun Krishnan, editor-in-chief at FoneArena.com: “Generally, women are a bit more social than men and have a bigger friends circle.”
While women are more active users of chat applications, men are more experimental in downloading and exploring other applications. On an average, men install 16 applications in a month compared with just 11 by women and 20% of these are online apps.
Online apps are those which use Internet (games, chat apps, social network websites, etc), while offline apps may include health trackers, currency converters, dictionary, academic apps, among others.
“Men generally tend to explore their phone a lot more and, hence, they tend to download more apps,” Krishnan said.
Women are also more loyal to an application than men, who tend to move on quickly, Rajan said. “Once they (women) are in the network, they are bound to stay longer and experiment more, whereas men have a short span of attention. They always keep looking for new applications,” he said.
At a broader level, the survey pointed out that both sexes spend the same amount of time—about 81 hours a month—on their smartphones despite the contrasting breakdown of activities.
Among other findings, men spend 50% more time browsing the Web on their smartphones than women, visiting on an average 20 sites a month as compared with 14 by women. And, while women surf the Internet less than men, they do it more when visiting social networking websites, which constitute 43% to pages visited by them against 32% for men. Other categories of Web browsing include search, adult content, webmail, VAS portals, video and others. VAS refers to value-added services such as ringtones, SMS alerts, games, video clips and music on demand, mobile wallpaper downloads, billing services, etc.
One finding seems to bear out the cliche that men don’t like to ask for directions. According to the survey, men access Google Maps more often than women presumably so they don’t need to stop and ask, although this could also be because men tend to drive more than women.
There are divergent opinions about this.
One finding seems to bear out the cliche that men don’t like to ask for directions
“Men believe that others are also like them, and even if they won’t know, they will send them in some random direction,” said Anuj Sharma, a student. On the other hand, Santosh Shah, an IT professional, thinks that women are poor with directions and get baffled by a map.
More men use smartphones than women who are content with feature phones. But this, too, is changing as women discover the benefits a smartphone has over a feature phone.
Nidhi Singh, a human resource (HR) management executive, says: “Being an HR professional, I have to be constantly updated with all the current mails and constant support needs to be there. Smartphones definitely help me in being connected all the time. Moreover, easy access to social network also helps me stay in touch with my friends off work.”
Overall, an average smartphone user spends 2.5 hours a day using her phone, with 72% of that time spent on activities such as gaming, entertainment, apps and Internet-related content, according to the survey. The most active smartphone users are in the age group of 15-25 years where usage is as high as three hours a day.
Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights gathers data on smartphone usage almost on a real-time basis from a panel spread across India, the company said. This is measured through an app installed on the smartphone that captures user activity. As of now, the app is installed on phones belonging to a panel of more than 5,500, a number that is steadily growing, Nielsen said.