For years companies have asked us what women want from their gadgets, and often that question is directed at smartphones in particular. One of our token answers has been that women prefer a color selection in their smartphones. It turns out that most of our answers have been right on target.
We recently spoke to Nikki Barton, Vice President, Smart Devices UX Design at Nokia, who shared with us some of her insights about women and smartphones, along with some new stats to back it up.
According to a study by Nielsen, there are slightly more female mobile subscribers (50.9%) carrying smartphones than male mobile subscribers (50.1%). Furthermore, when it comes to social networking, playing games and shopping online, women tend to be active on their smartphones in these spaces. It turns out that women also control $20 trillion in annual spending and represent a market that is bigger than China and India combined. Additionally, women worldwide make or influence 64% of all purchases; in the US, this figure is even higher at 73%.
With stats like these, companies like Nokia of course want to make their mobile devices more desirable to women. And Nikki gave us some insight into what Nokia is doing to make that happen. For example, Nokia is committed to offering more color choices for their handsets. The Nokia Lumia 900 is a prime example, with its choice of cyan, white, fuchsia or black handsets. Speaking of these color choices, the Lumia 900′s Cyan has proven to be the most popular color choice of the lot. Nokia is also committed to making fun matching accessories like the Nokia Luna Bluetooth Headset and the Nokia Play 360 wireless speaker. Both of these devices sport NFC technology that allows them to instantly pair to a phone with a single tap.
Nikki says that according to a new study released by IDC, ease of use, weight, size, camera resolution, and physical design are also what women value most, as opposed to the operating system and the network (3G VS 4G), which is what men value most. Women are also very much concerned with saving time. Keeping all of that in mind, she says that Nokia is committed to designing phones that are less techie focused, and instead emphasize more ease of use. Barton also mentioned that the design group at Nokia use a “heads-up” philosophy, and that means that they want to make sure that a mobile user’s head is held up as much as possible while using their phone.
Of course, men still value ease of use and many of the same qualities in a smartphone that women do. But one thing is for sure, the industry is finally shifting their focus from designing a smartphone experience that is more about hardware, and instead more about the user experience. And the fact that they are ready to cater to women more than ever, is icing on the cake.