CEA Study: Shrinking Difference in Technology Use by Men, Women

When it comes to purchasing and using electronics products, the gap between men and women appears to be disappearing. That's one conclusion reached by a study conducted in early October by eBrain Market Research and published by the Consumer Electronics Association. The study, titled Women, Men & Consumer Electronics, questioned 1000 random households about their involvement with electronics technology.

A number of results of the study are in direct opposition to one of the most firmly entrenched assumptions held by audio retailers: that the field of consumer electronics is a "boy's club." While men are still more likely to install and hook up new equipment (80% of men vs. 40% of women), in most aspects of applied technology, the difference between men and women is less than 5%, the study found.

Men still have the possessive edge when it comes to "interactive" devices like computers, video games, and camcorders—a product category where researchers found the biggest discrepancy: 44% of men vs. 33% of women use camcorders regularly.

For most products, however, there is virtually no difference in regular use by men as opposed to women. "The concept of consumer electronics products being 'toys for boys' is clearly outdated," said Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of eBrain Market Research. "The utility of these products is universal, and consumers, both male and female, recognize the benefits to their lifestyles and workstyles."

As for online activity, there appears to be close parity between the sexes. Sixty-six percent of the men and 61% of the women interviewed reported that they spend time on the Internet—an increase from 56% and 42% respectively in 1998. Although both genders report spending approximately the same amount of time online, men are more likely to research and purchase items, and are also more active in "chat rooms" and on auction sites. Product purchases tend to be initiated more often by men than women (60% vs. 50%).

Men tend to rely on the media for information about technology, whereas women are more likely to trust friends and family, the study concluded. Women, Men & Consumer Electronics is available to the media and to CEA members at no charge.