In spite of the common perception that online gaming is a predominantly male pastime, 79% of women in the UK play games and puzzles online, overtaking men by 1.85 million, according to a study published today.

The research, conducted by online gaming website Zylom shows that not only do women favour online casual gaming over shopping, they are also spending more time online.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of those questioned spend up to 3 hours a week playing online games, although not all women are ready to admit to the timed spent, with 17% of these women choosing to conceal their online casual gaming from friends and family.

According to the study, the majority of women who play online games are aged over 25, with 21% aged between 25 and 34 and 20% aged between 35 and 44.

Director of marketing at Zylom, Brendan McNulty says: "Women have been sold short and are not the technophobes they are commonly perceived to be. They have embraced the online entertainment age and are beating their male counterparts".