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Source: National Post

Posted on February 20, 2001

      Canadian women, especially those ages 18 to 34, play an increasingly larger role on the Internet, according to a new study of more than 2,000 online users. "Gone are the days when men, particularly young men, were the most sophisticated Internet users and women were slotted as beginners or newbies," said Duncan McKie, president of POLLARA Inc. and co-author of the 2001 New Media Perspectives.

      "The digital divide is diminishing along gender lines. However, this research tells us we should still be concerned about the digital divide in other segments. Canadians outside major urban areas, those with lower incomes and lesser education, and those in the upper age groups are not connecting to these new channels to the same extent," Mr. McKie said.

      POLLARA splits online Canadians into four categories: Savvy, Trendy, Mainstream and Newbie.

      Savvy users are technology enthusiasts. Trendy users employ the Internet and their computers for entertainment rather than for nuts-and-bolts technology.

      "Women, for the first time, have pushed well past the 40% mark in the categories," Mr. McKie said. "And, for the first time, these two groups combined now represent half of all Canadian online users." In the Savvy category, women shot up to 44% from 30% last year.

      In the Trendy category, women moved to 38% from 33%. Women remain the majority in the Mainstream and Newbie categories, at roughly 60% and unchanged, respectively.

      Among the survey's other findings:

  • The Internet is boosting radio listening while cutting into TV viewing and newspaper reading.

  • Instant messaging, chats and downloading music continue to grow exponentially, with about 25% of onliners using each application, up from 15% to 18% last year.

  • The dominant application, e-mail, continues to grow, but not at the same rate.

  • Two-thirds of Canadian Web users will purchase a tech gadget this year, with the big winner being the digital camera.

  • Online financial transactions and services are soaring.

  • Cars and trucks are now the most popular products searched for online, at 24%, up from 21% last year. Computers and software dropped to second place at 21%, down from 26%.

  • Over the last three years, the Internet population has grown from about 24% of Canadians to 60%, with about a 17% increase per year.

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