Gender Gap Emerges in Propensity to Socialize In-Person Vs. Online

July 13, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Boomers & Older | Europe & Middle East | Global & Regional | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

ipsos-us-socializing-friends-in-person-online-july2012.pngRecent survey results from Burst Media found men to be less active than women on social media, and new data from Ipsos reveals that men are also less likely to have shifted their communication with friends online. In fact, while 24% of American women say they socialize more with their friends online than “in the real world,” just 13% of men say the same. This gap does not play out on a global level: an average of 20% of female respondents across the 25 countries studied said they socialize more online, versus 18% of male respondents.

Overall, 19% of both Americans and the overall global average say they are now socializing more with their friends online rather than in-person.

Age Plays a Role

Data from the Ipsos study finds that just 13% of 50-64-year-olds in the US are socializing more online than in the real world, while only 17% of 35-49-year-olds have shifted to primarily communicating with their friends over the internet. Unsurprisingly, the under 35 age group is the most likely to be socializing more online, at 26%.

According to Common Sense Media survey results released in June, just 49% of teens say that their preferred communication method with friends is in-person.

Europeans Shy Away From Digital Contact

Regionally, the Ipsos study finds that Europeans are the least likely to be found socializing with their friends more online than in person, at 14%. By contrast, a far higher proportion of respondents in the Middle East and Africa (24%) and Latin America (23%) are now spending more time socializing with their friends over the internet than in the real world.

Of the 25 countries studied, China and India (both at 31%) had the highest incidence of consumers making the communication shift to digital, while Japan (7%), Italy (8%), and Spain (10%) had the lowest.

Other Findings:

  • Within the US, respondents with high educational attainment (25%) were more likely to be spending more time socializing with friends online than those with medium (18%) or low (15%) levels of educational attainment.
  • Men in Turkey were far more likely than women to be spending more time socializing with their friends online than in-person (30% vs. 19%). A similar gap was apparent in Hong Kong, Belgium, and Japan. In Australia, though, women were roughly twice as likely as men to say they were spending more time socializing with friends online (25% vs. 13%).
  • Contrary to the global average, in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, 50-64-year-olds were the most likely of the age groups to say they were spending more time socializing online with friends.
  • In Brazil, more than one-third of the under 35 group have shifted their communications with friends primarily online.

About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on a survey of 12,500 consumers in 25 countries.

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