If you’re appy and you know it…

Recently we surveyed 300 18-24 year old Brits to understand how they use their smartphone to organise their social lives and follow their passions. Today I’ll look at the difference between the sexes with regards to their social app usage – because believe it or not, not all millennials were created equal.

First thing to note, 98% of those with a smartphone had downloaded at least one app – a stat consistent between genders. This means that apps are a sure-fire component of their digital arsenal, but also where the similarities between the sexes end.

Men download more apps per month, with 39% downloading five or more (vs 26% of women). Nonetheless, young women regularly use more apps than their male counterparts. The most notable differences being with the traditionally “visual” pinboard and photo-social apps.

App blog

A third of 18-24 year old women use Pinterest, with only 14% of our men. This means twice as many ladies pinning pictures of cats and cakes. Likewise, 67% of women use the Instagram app, compared with only 53% of the male cohort.

This might not come as a surprise. Pinterest especially has often been touted as an example of a classically “female” app. Nonetheless, gender-neutral Tumblr and Snapchat share similar stories.

The story builds when we dig into apps they use to share visual content. Snapchat is the top ranking app for men, who enjoy the ephemeral nature of the share. However, Instagram won amongst our ladies – where they have superior control over their personal image through edits and filters. This links to the broader trend of the perfection-seeker on social.


App blog 2

Sourcing app info is also different. The ladies pay more attention to friends and family; less to tech experts and bloggers. Barriers to downloading apps are consistent between the sexes, with poor Wi-Fi connections, storage issues and the need to make in-app purchases most often cited as a turnoff.

For those who have made the leap to download a new app, many are used once and never again. Gaming apps appear to be the biggest casualty, but very specific or pointless travel or dieting apps also suffer the same fate.

So what?

Men download more apps, open minded to new ‘life hacks’ and distractions. However, when it comes to regular usage, women are streaks ahead. Women prioritise apps where they are able to more easily curate and regulate what they share with others. When considering the need to ‘have an app’ brands must think about the real function and purpose behind it, or resign themselves to the ‘once-and-never-again’ pile.


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