According to a study carried out by Southern Illinois University men consider download speed to be more important than women do. 301 undergraduate students were surveyed about the relative importance of a range of usability criteria. Both men and women considered ease of use to be the most important. However, men indicated that download speed was the next most important while women rated accessibility and navigation as more important.
The researchers have suggested that this difference may be a result of differences in the way men and women use the web, with men using it for information gathering and women using it for social relationships. However, it is unclear whether this expressed preference will actually have a bearing on behaviour. Just because women say it is less important does not mean they are necessarily more likely to remain on a site with large delays. Neither does it indicate what men and women consider a slow download speed.
Usability Study: Men Need Speed