Social Media – Mind the gap

Daily use rates and social media preferences reveal a gap across generations. But will these differences persist, or will social media behaviour converge in the future?

The use and frequency of social media apps continues to increase, particularly on a day-to-day basis. Usage and mobile phone access to social media continues to grow with the ever-present nature of smartphones and other devices that make user engagement with social media apps immediate and more frequent. Data compiled from this year’s survey shows that the use of social media apps by all adults, particularly when accessed through a smartphone, has increased by eight percentage points over the past two years.

The use and frequency of social media apps continues to increase, particularly on a day-to-day basis. Usage and mobile phone access to social media continues to grow with the ever-present nature of smartphones and other devices that make user engagement with social media apps immediate and more frequent. Data compiled from this year’s survey shows that the use of social media apps by all adults, particularly when accessed through a smartphone, has increased by eight percentage points over the past two years.

Nordic Social Media Daily Usage
Apps used on mobile phone

Across all age groups, there are no trends which indicate differences in the general use of social media. Different patterns begin to emerge when the frequency of app usage is considered. The 18-24-year-olds use the major social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube on a daily basis more consistently than other age groups. Facebook is the most used on a daily basis while other apps that are built on the premise of messaging and connectivity also score high on daily use.

Will the Facebook wave die out?

While the total daily use of Facebook on smartphones has increased from 2017 to 2019 for the 25-75 years old age group by between three and 11 percentage points, young adults (18-24) are bucking that trend: daily Facebook users have declined from 75 per cent to 70 per cent.

Nevertheless, the declining use amongst younger age groups raises questions about the future of Facebook. Is the app simply well-suited to the needs of older generations, and will the networking effect make these consumers stick to Facebook? Or will the older generations also start exploring a broader range of social media platforms?

Facebook Daily Usage
Apps used on mobile phone - Facebook

Instagram on the rise

Among the widely popular apps, Instagram stands out as the only one increasing in daily use across all generations, with the highest occurrence within the 18-24 age group. The 45-54-year-olds have the highest rate of increase of 12 percentage points in daily Instagram use. Older generations also report much higher usage on Instagram than on Snapchat, both generally and on a daily basis. This might be a result of the ease of use of the app and contemporary audience.

Instagram Daily Usage
Apps used on mobile phone - Instagram

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