x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE top for female internet use in GCC

A study shows the proportion of females online in the UAE is the highest in the GCC.

The UAE has the highest proportion of female internet users in the GCC, and the second-highest proportion in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a study released on Thursday found. More than 40 per cent of the UAE's internet users are female, a percentage surpassed in the MENA region only by Morocco, which has 46.6 per cent of female users, and far above the regional average of 28 per cent, according to research conducted by Effective Measure, the online audience measurement company. "That's why females are a highly sought-after community online, because there are fewer of them, and sites that attract more of them have more value," said Brendon Ogilvy, Effective Measure's regional director for MENA. Female internet users are much more likely than males to be the decision maker in the household for consumer goods, travel and accommodation, the study found. They also spend more time than males reading an internet page, suggesting they engage more than males with what they read online, Mr Ogilvy said. However, women tend to be more conservative with their money online than men. The study found that 45 per cent of the men surveyed said they occasionally purchased items with their credit card that they could not afford at the time, while only 36 per cent of female respondents said they did the same. Female internet users tend to have achieved higher levels of education than male internet users, with 25 per cent of female users having a graduate degree or higher, against only 20 per cent of males. A large majority of female internet users, 67.3 per cent, access the internet from home. The bulk of internet users of both sexes in the MENA region are aged between 25 and 30, but female internet users tend to be slightly younger than their male counterparts, with 11.4 per cent of female internet users aged between 15 and 17, against 10.6 per cent of male users. Only 8.7 per cent of female users are over 60 compared with 11 per cent of male users. The study polled 68,721 people online over the past three months throughout the MENA region. khagey@thenational.ae