Women are taking a greater interest in, and have a more sophisticated understanding of electronics than ever before. Women actually spent more on technology last year than men, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. It says women accounted for $55 billion of the $96 billion spent on electronics gear (statistic from a January 6 CEA press release). Women are increasingly interested in gadgets, from DVD players to digital cameras, for themselves or birthday gifts for their families. Almost a third of women consider themselves early adopters willing to buy cutting-edge consumer technology. CEA reported that women in the United States are becoming more likely to use consumer electronics. CEA’s study provides detailed information about the attitudes, purchase considerations, decision influences, purchase channels, current product ownership, and future purchase intent. Here are some of the findings: • Women are involved in 89 percent of all consumer electronics purchase decisions. • 84% of women believe that new technologies can improve their lives. • 48% of women age 18–34 own a digital camera. The CEA survey noted that women have very positive reactions to specific technology areas, like HDTV, cell phones, and digital photography. Women have more buying power and they increasingly use technology to manage their busy schedules. Women’s comfort level with technology is at an all-time high. Women want products that make it easy to connect and make it easy to operate; limited wiring or no wires at all; slim, well-designed products; making electronics available in different colors is not very important; low on setup and high on usability. Usability often is an important factor to women when they buy technology; At CES, organizers hung big pink banners saying “Technology is a Girl’s Best Friend,” even though the group’s own research found a third of women surveyed don’t like products with girlie colors. Nearly three-quarters of women surveyed complained about being ignored or patronized by sales people when shopping for electronics. A growing number of companies are starting to target their wares toward female buyers. Sony is outfitting its electronics with features that many women seek and is designing Sony Style retail stores to appeal to women’s preferences by creating an environment where women feel comfortable. Many of Sony’s efforts are focused on functionality. Women are becoming informed and involved in technology areas where they once had little or no presence.