A report by Fletcher Research last year suggesting teenage girls
were using the net more than boys prompted a flurry of activity.
Publishers seized the chance to exploit existing content and to create
portals, such as IPC’s BeMe.com, to target female web users.
However, while these developments focused on older, higher-spending
consumers, the teen market was generally ignored. This could explain why
the gender balance of young net users has subsequently reversed.
Fletcher’s latest statistics reveal that young men now account for 61
per cent of teens on the web.
Now the balance is being redressed, with teen portals expected in the
next few months from Wowgo, which is backed by Unilever, and Attic
Research has shown that the sexes use the internet in different
Fletcher has reported that girls use the net for social interaction and
to enhance relationships. Of all female net users under the age of 18,
47 per cent go to online chat services and 80 per cent use e-mail. Only
15 per cent go online to read magazines or news in their spare time.
Websites are being created to discover and then accommodate the needs of
teenagers. Wowgo, which claims to be providing ’Europe’s first lifestyle
brand for teenage girls’, will be 80 per cent driven by the users
themselves, providing advertisers with valuable information on the
David Peller, chief executive of Wowgo, says: ’Teenage girls are
difficult to reach through traditional media and are under-served in the
digital environment. We want to capture the huge opportunity this market
There are 1.8 million girls in the UK between the ages of 12 and 16 and
they spend pounds 1.3 billion a year. Wowgo estimates that 10 per cent
of this will be spent online by 2001.
While large brands have struggled to speak to teenage girls, targeted
websites may finally address this deficiency.
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