Results from a new survey show a significant increase in female downloading in the UK. In the past year there has been an increase of almost 10% in the number of females now downloading music. This compares to an increase of only 5% among men.

While the total number of men downloading music is more than women (44% compared to 34%), the ladies are catching up fast; the average female downloader is a more frequent user than their male counterpart with 20% of females downloading over 20 tracks a month compared to only 18% of men.

Moreover, one in ten women is spending over 70% of their entire music budget on downloading, as opposed to 8% of men. However, men continue to have a higher overall music budget, with the average man spending £6.40 more per month on music than women.

The findings are part of The European Music Census 2005, compiled by Music Choice. The census questioned 45,000 European music fans, including 8,000 from the UK.

The overall percentage of people downloading in the UK has grown from 31% to 40% in the past year and has become the primary method of music acquisition for over one in ten UK music fans. However, 63% of download users still download less than ten tracks per month, suggesting that downloading is used mainly to access single tracks as opposed to entire albums.

The Music Census results highlight how the UK has seen a higher increase in downloading when compared to its European neighbours, rising from seventh position in last year's census to the number three spot in 2005.