One in five American women who use the Internet hop online to tend Pinterest boards. That figure comes from a recent phone survey of more than a thousand consumers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And it confirms much of the anecdotal evidence we often hear about how the visual web has changed the way we spend our time online.

Pinterest’s 19 percent adoption rate among women still has a long way to go to catch up to Facebook’s 70 percent statistic. However, the ease with which users can pin and repin their favorite objects gives Pinterest an edge among women who enjoy sharing and storing lists of their favorite things, rather than issuing status updates.

Study tracks images as social currency

Pew’s study focused on photos and videos as “social currency,” finding that both men and women enjoy participating in the visual web. Nearly half of all Internet users in the study told researchers that they post original videos and photos online, especially on popular social networking sites. However, the study also found that 41 percent of respondents like to curate other people’s images, as well.

The curation element of the visual web has helped a broader segment of Americans build more robust online representations of their tastes. Many of us feel far more comfortable building pinboards than writing blog posts. That could explain why only about a quarter of Internet users maintain blogs, a percentage that Pinterest use could easily eclipse within the next year.

Pinterest users make buying decisions based on social updates

Pew’s study also corroborates past research about the influence Pinterest already wields over online shopping. 16 percent of Internet users earning between $50,000 and $75,000 in annual income use Pinterest, as do 12 percent of study respondents who reported earning more than $75,000 per year. Meanwhile, a recent Bizrate study that shows 70 percent of consumers who have visited Pinterest use the service to decide what they’ll buy.

Those statistics show a motivated audience with disposable income, ready to make buying decisions based on recommendations from friends and acquaintances on Pinterest. Real-time information can help buyers and manufacturers spot trends early and adjust product mix based on audience feedback.

At Curalate, we help online marketers identify their most popular images on Pinterest, along with the tastemakers responsible for building buzz. Request a product demo today, so you can help shape the visual web instead of settling for a mere “presence.”

(Photo via Loren’s World)