When we asked in our Handshake 2.0 survey What do businesswomen want in a mobile app?, we learned that the question about women in general and mobile applications - What do women want? - had yet to be answered.
According to a 2009 Nielsen survey, reported by Pew Internet, women surveyed were more likely than men to download "games, social networking, music, and entertainment/food apps" and "women in the sample were slightly more likely than the men to say they learn about apps from friends and family (39% v. 33%)..." Nielsen followed up in its September 2010 The State of Mobile Apps, reporting that people discover apps first through searching app stores, then through family and friends. Ratings and review sites were also a method for finding apps.
My mobile app download history matches the Nielsen reports in some ways. I've downloaded more social networking apps than any other kind - Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare - but I've only downloaded one game, no music, and no "entertainment/food apps," although I'm not sure what those would be. And I downloaded an app just yesterday. But I'm a cautious downloader - a technology survivor - so I also match the survey profile in that I seek recommendations from friends and family - I'll add colleagues to that - before I download software, mobile or otherwise.
With no personal recommendations of my own or from "It's still who you know" others to offer yet, I was open to seeking recommendations from ratings and reviews. After more than two hours of using various combinations of women+mobile+app+top+best search terms, I gave up. This is all I found:
10 (Really!) Useful iPhone Apps for Women (Girl Goes Tech)
What a Girl Wants: More Mobile Shopping (miBuys as reported by Mashable)
The Best iPhone Apps for Women (Star Reviews - TiffanyB)
Ten Best iPhone Apps for Women (iPhoneNess)
5 Cool Cell Phone Apps for Women (Cell-Phone-Plans.net)
Top iPhone Apps for Moms (Huffington Post)
My quest for answers resulted in more questions:
- Why could I not find more ratings and reviews, even lists, of the best mobile apps for women?
- Are mobile apps for women not being written about, or are few being created?
- How many mobile app development shops are run by women? I suspect few. If there were more, might I have been able to find more mobile apps for women?
- Was I running into the women in technology issue - whether they're the founders of mobile app development companies or seeking mobile apps to dowlload - women have trouble finding each other?
As of June 2010, according to Nielsen, "59% of smartphone owners and nearly 9% of feature phone owners report having downloaded a mobile app in the last 30 days." By 2011, Nielsen predicts most U.S. phone subscribers will have smartphones.
This joins our series of market research posts on women and smartphones and mobile apps for women in business. We're writing about mobile apps and about the development and use of the Handshake(TM) App.
Handshake Media, Incorporated, a woman-founded technology company and parent company of Handshake 2.0, is the developer of the Handshake(TM) App, a corporate mobile directory app extending the reach of companies and organizations to mobile customers. Handshake Media's Anne Giles Clelland is one of four co-founders of a social network for women.
The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones