Women are the new techies. Over the years, internet usage has evolved from geeky to cool to integrated into everyday personal and professional life. As the internet has evolved, so has its primary user base. Today, 85% of men and 84% of women report being avid internet users. Online, women generate 58% of e-commerce dollars and spend 30% more time on social networking sites than men. Women are key drivers of social networking, gaming, e-commerce, and sales in emerging technology products.
In the gaming world, 60% of social gamers on Zynga are women. Moreover, women over 25 — and especially women over 45 — spend more time gaming online than men do. As Media Planet put it, “If you want to make a game for millions of people, then you need to have all those perspectives.”
This thought process is just as applicable to beta testing. Women are analytical multi-taskers with a huge amount of household buying power. Today, women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing power. Research shows women account for $4.3 trillion of the total U.S. consumer spending of $5.9 trillion, making women the largest single economic force in not just the U.S., but in the world.
Almost one-third of women consider themselves “early adopters” in that they’re willing to buy new technologies. According to Forbes, “if the consumer economy had a sex, it would be female”. Women are leading adopters in internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, text messaging, e-readers, Skype, social networking sites, GPS, healthcare devices, and more! Therefore, feedback from this demographic is critical in helping our clients ensure their products won’t flop once they hit store shelves.
Although this data showcases women’s power as tech consumers and enthusiasts, stereotypes still linger. Advertisers “believe women’s magazines, celebrity gossip, and baby sites are the best way to reach women online.” Moreover, in one study, 63% of female teenagers said they “hadn’t even considered a career in technology,” partly because (as Harvey Mudd’s president discovered) “they didn’t think they would be good at it.”
We’re launching a Women Behind Betabound series to explore the perspectives and motivations behind different female voices within our community. In the next few weeks, you’ll read stories from Betabound women involved in product development and testing, and learn the unique perspectives these women bring to beta testing and the tech space as a whole.
The goal of this series is to shed light on the huge impact of women within the tech landscape, and to raise awareness regarding the accomplishments and insights found within our own impressive community of female testers. After interviewing these women, the biggest commonality we saw was a concern for confidence — that the unique skills and perspectives women could contribute to the tech world were being undervalued.
Thirty-five percent of Betabounders are female. As we’ve witnessed time and again within our own tester community, women’s talents are extremely sophisticated and diverse — which we hope sparks newfound confidence and pride in any young women reading this series.