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Silver surfers are now dominating growth on social media


Silver surfers are the fastest growing segments targeting some of the major social platforms; Users over 50 are growing faster than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat, according to a new study.

Silver surfers are the fastest growing segments targeting some of the major social platforms; Users over 50 are growing faster than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat, according to a new study.

The study by Hootsuite and We Are Social examined global social media and digital trends.

Other key statistics from the report are:

  • At least 98% of the users of a particular social media platform also use at least one other social platform
  • 85% of TikTok users aged 16 to 64 say they use Facebook, and almost 95% of Instagram users in the same age group say they use YouTube as well. This shows that brands don’t have to be active on every single platform. In fact, the data shows that having a presence on just one or two of the larger platforms has the potential to reach almost all social media users worldwide
  • The way we discover products and brands is changing: 28% of internet users aged 16 to 64 say they discover brands and products through ads on social media, compared with 33.9% in the first place via search engines.
  • For brand research – 53.1% of internet users aged 16-64 use search engines, while 44.8% use social networks. But if you break that down by age demographics, social networks outperform search engines in the 16- to 24-year-old group (53.2% versus 51.3%).
  • 90.7% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 use chat apps every month, more than 88.4% on social platforms while seated.
  • There are now 2 billion WhatsApp users worldwide, of which 525 million are already using the new Telegram platform

With much of the world in lockdown for a significant portion of 2020, Digital 2021 shows that social media users have grown the fastest in three years. There are now 4.20 billion social media users worldwide, which corresponds to a growth of more than 13 percent compared to the previous year (490 million new users). The number of social media users now corresponds to more than 53 percent of the world population.

Perhaps surprisingly, people say they spend the same amount of time on social media every day as they did last year, with 2 hours and 25 minutes. Facebook remains the world’s most widely used social platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. Facebook’s own apps make up 4 of the 5 most used social platforms worldwide.

“Consumers are increasingly connecting with brands through social and messaging apps in the same way they connect with their friends and family,” said Tom Keizer, CEO of Hootsuite. “The pandemic has only accelerated this shift as even resentful brands are now moving to online interactions.”

The nearly 300-page report also outlines the expanded use of social media, with 45% of users aged 16-64 looking for brand information on social networks and 40% using social media for work purposes. An important consideration for marketers is the growing popularity of messaging platforms: 91% of Internet users aged 16 to 64 now use chat apps every month; Messaging has outperformed social media platform usage and now ranks second at 88%.

“Providing the global perspective on demographics and usage patterns on these platforms helps our clients focus their digital strategies and engage with their audiences in the most relevant and authentic way,” added Keizer.

Meanwhile, the total time spent online has increased, with the average internet user now spending nearly 7 hours a day online on all devices. This means the average user spends more than 2 full days out of a 7-day week online – up 16 minutes, or 4 percent, year-over-year. Digital 2021 shows that 4.66 billion people worldwide were using the Internet in January 2021, an increase of 316 million (7.3 percent) since that time last year.

Jim Coleman, UK CEO of We Are Social, commented: “It is remarkable to see the impact the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have had on our digital lives over the past year. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and many of the trends we have seen will continue in both the UK and around the world in 2021. Today, social and digital are inextricably linked to a greater number of lives on a deeper level than ever before. With this in mind, it has never been more important for marketers to understand online and social media cultures in order to reach people in a relevant way. “

Other headlines in Digital 2021 that deal with social media, internet, mobile and e-commerce worldwide are:

  • The phenomenal growth of mobile into our first screen that is more time for people than live TV.
  • Ecommerce growth: 77 percent of internet users ages 16 to 64 say they buy something online every month, with groceries and personal care being the fastest growing consumer category in ecommerce.
  • Silver Surfers: Older ages are the fastest growing segments among the target groups of some of the major social platforms; Users over 50 are growing faster than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat.
  • Generational gaming popularity: More than 90 percent of Generation Z internet users say they play games, compared to 67 percent of 55 to 64 year olds.

View and download the report here



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