Factors such as the modernization of countries around the world, the rise of smartphones and mobile devices, and the technology advance have given people the opportunity to use the internet more frequently and with more convenience. About 43 percent of the total global population had online access in 2015. The internet user rate varied according to market maturity and gender. About 82 percent of the population in developed markets had access to the internet in 2015, whereas the overall internet usage rate in developed countries stood at 35.3 percent. In general, the global male population has slightly more access to the internet than the global female. For instance, about 46 percent of the global male population had online access in 2015, against around 41 percent of female. In the United States, the difference is smaller; 89 percent of men in the United States had access to the internet in 2016, while the share of female internet users among adults in the United States stood at 86 percent that year.
Social networking is one of the most popular activities among internet users in the United States. As of November 2016, 72 percent of adult women and 66 percent of adult men used social networking sites. Facebook, the largest social network site in the world, is popular amongst U.S. internet users as well, particularly women. As of April 2016, about 83 percent of female internet users in the U.S. used Facebook. The rate of U.S. male internet users on Facebook stood at 75 percent during that measured time. The share of male and female U.S. internet users who access Twitter is somewhat similar – 24 percent and 25 percent respectively as of April 2016. On Instagram, female users are predominant. About 38 percent of female internet users were on Instagram, and 26 percent of male internet users used the photo sharing app.
In 2015, about 21 percent of adults in the United States, male and female, stated being online almost constantly. Much of this constant use of the internet could be attribute to the rise of mobile internet. Mobile phone owners use their devices for different functions; using location-based services, researching and shopping for products, video chatting, and talking to friends via social media platforms are a few examples of mobile internet users’ activities. Women in the United States are more likely to be mobile-first shoppers. About 53.4 percent of women stated primarily researching and purchasing products via their smartphone. The share of male mobile-first shoppers in the United States stood at 46.6 percent. U.S. women in the are also more likely to use mobile payment services. In 2015, nearly 55 percent of U.S. users who had used mobile payment services in the past 12 months were female. About 45 percent were male.
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