January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Women Outpace Men Online

Women are no longer a niche market online, according to a study released today by Media Metrix, Inc. and Jupiter Communications. The study, which examined web usage among women in age groups ranging from schoolgirls to seniors, found that in the first quarter of this year, the number of women online surpassed that of men for the first time ever in the United States. Additionally, the population of women online is growing faster than the online population overall, the study found.

The number of female unique visitors increased dramatically over the past 12 months in all but two age groups ö women aged 18-24, where use decreased by 4.5%, and those aged 35-44, where web use grew only slightly by 4.6%. The most notable increase by age group in web usage over the past year ö 125% was among teen girls aged 12 - 17. Web sites attracting the highest number of visitors in that age group are clustered around shopping, fashion magazines, and music, the study reported. By contrast, women aged 55 and over represent the highest audience share for family, health, genealogy and joke/fun pages.

"Itâs no longer enough to think of women as the target audience," says Anya Sacharow, an analyst at Jupiter. "The sites that will be most successful in capturing future potential revenue from this market will target women through deeper segmentation."

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