Social networks have swiftly been woven into the fabric of the consumer’s everyday life and habits. The Future Foundation’s 2011 consumer research study analysed consumer networking habits and their ability to share content through these sites. The results revealed…

Social Media – latest statistics and behaviours

By 2015, we forecast that more than 85% of the UK are expected to be using the internet at least once a week, fuelled in some part by the rise of web-enabled and smart phones.

In early 2011, just over a third claimed to be using mobile internet at least every week; this is expected to climb to more than 85% by 2020. For those who use the internet on smart phones, social networking apps are the most popular applications with 66% of smartphone owners using them.

Among activities done on the web, for both mobile and computer, social networking is among those at the top. Despite some rumblings of digital fatigue and numbers of consumers in rebellion against social networking, Future Foundation data reveals that the majority of younger consumers (aged 16-24) are still creating or updating their personal profile on a social networking site. 78% of 16-24′s are doing or have done so and 66% of 25-34 year olds. The data also revealed the sites remain popular with 45-54 year olds, 57% admit to creating or updating their personal profiles. Far from losing consumer interest, social networking is still used by majorities in many segments.

The chart below shows the use of social networking is a regular affair; 70% of consumers log on to one daily, rising to over 80% for 16-24 year olds.

Logging into Social Network Sites Daily

In the last year, due in part to the wide take-up of smart phones, mobile social networking has increased by 10%. Numbers for those who say they communicate with someone using a social networking site has increased by even more. In the Summer of 2010, 28% of consumers (and over 40% of 16-24 year olds) communicated with someone via a social networking site. A year later this had increased to 40% of consumers and nearly 60% of 16-24 year olds. Social networking applications (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin) are the most popular apps for mobile phones, with over 65% of consumers using them.

With the increase of availability and use of social networks, consumers are becoming savvier in how they protect information about themselves on the global web. Majorities across all segments agree that they have set up restrictions to limit who can see their profile page, with on average 60% of consumers doing so. Furthermore, just fewer than 70% of 16-44 year olds agree they have taken precautions to protect themselves online and around half of 45-64 year olds say they have also.

Increasing and significant minorities of consumers keep up with a brand, product or a company via a social networking site, (e.g. by becoming a follower or ‘liking’) with over a third of consumers admitting to have done this and over half of 16-24 year olds.

Content Sharing

Social networking is a space where consumers choose to share content or their daily and hourly activities with their friends and families. Half of consumers say that they have shared something online in the last 6 months, 78% of 16-24 year olds admit to social content sharing.

Mobile sharing is also attracting significant numbers of consumers, with over a third (35%) of consumers saying they have done so.

69% say that they share holiday photos online, 38% say ‘because it is fun’ and 41% ‘because their family and friends welcome it’; with around a quarter saying their family and friends now actually expect them to do so.

59% of consumers say that they share discount vouchers online because their family and friends will benefit and 27% say their family and friends welcome it. Half of consumers say they share news articles online and of those who do, the most popular reason for doing so is because ‘it makes me look good’.

Most content-sharing is done from individual-to-individual. When sharing content, more say they send it to just one or two personal contacts as opposed to sending it to all contacts or to large groups from their personal contacts.

Source: MediaTel

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