Posted February 11, 2011 8:31 pm by with 7 comments

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In a short period of time, location-based applications have become common place to the point where most of us don’t even think about it when a search engine suggests a store in your neighborhood when all you typed was pizza. Location sharing sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla, however, still make some of us think twice. Some of us being, those who have been known to wear a skirt.

According to a study reported on by eMarketer, 77% of women said that when it came to using location-based services, they were concerned about stalking. Surprisingly 60% of the men shared their fear but it didn’t stop them being the most active location-based service users.

As you can see from the chart, 70% of the men 18-34 use a location-based service compared to 64% of the women.

But could the difference in the usage be something more than privacy concerns? According to a survey by Telenav, more men than women have used a GPS while driving. (Though oddly, only 9% of men said they had no confidence in their own sense of direction.) This suggests to me, that women simply aren’t as quick to jump on new technology as their male counterparts.

One thing the survey did make clear is that people still have privacy concerns and there’s no easy answer to that. When a service asks us to send our current address out into the world over invisible airwaves, how can we not worry about how that information will be used and by whom.

There’s no question that personalization based on location is a helpful tool for both the consumers and marketers. But location-sharing services offer little more than entertainment, a chance to one-up your friends and maybe grab a coupon. Pew’s study from this past November says that only 4% of Americans use location-sharing programs. Will we ever get to the point where the majority of mobile users share their location on a daily basis? I doubt it. The risk to reward ratio just seems to great for everyone involved.

  • I highly doubt that the majority of smart phone users will ever be sharing their locations. At least not until they have a compelling reason to do so. I don’t see one on the horizon.

  • This tells us a percentage of those that use location based services but it doesn’t tell us the frequency of use. I would probably fall into that 70% that use, but I am only checking in to locations or events rare ocassions.

  • I don’t agree that this will stay like this forever. I see more women using ( location based service) than men. Probably because it is related to office gossip.

  • For now, I think men will be more inclined to use LBS just because women are scared of the stalk factor. Once businesses and retailers start to adopt location based marketing and begin offering up more promotions and coupons, more women will start adopting location based services. I imagine a meld between companies like Groupon and Foursquare in the future, offering up big deals based on location marketing.

  • I’ve never been a big fan of this technology anyways but it’s a interesting statistic.

    • i am a very big fan of location based services.this is the future of the world in technology.

  • Search based on location is only going to keep getting bigger whether it’s men or women who use it more. All local businesses should get busy marketing their sites using local search terms.