Brands need to adapt to a new era of social media, with consumers are no longer spending hours simply “passing the time”, instead they are becoming more focused, using sites in a more deliberate and intentional way to stay in touch, stay informed and get inspired.
So says new research audience insights company GWI, which reveals the average daily time spent on social media has declined globally since last year – a trend that has been reported just once before in over ten years of tracking usage.
Based on more than 970,000 consumers, he new study is designed to offer insights into the social media landscape, from less time spent scrolling to how people are spending their time on social platforms.
And, despite social media usage declining overall, the popularity of apps like TikTok are continuing to rise in 2023. While WhatsApp retains its position as the world’s favourite social media platform, TikTok is climbing fast, with the number of consumers citing TikTok as their preferred social media platform doubling over the past two years.
The report also finds that keeping in touch with friends and family continues to be the most popular reason for using social media (54%), with many consumers also using social platforms to catch up on news headlines (27%). In fact, the number of Western TikTokers using the platform to keep up-to-date with the news has jumped by 41% in two years.
Consumers are also leaning on social media platforms to discover what is being talked about (22%), with the number of consumers turning to TikTok for information about products and brands rising by 52%.
The way consumers choose to communicate through social platforms is also evolving. With Gen Z in the UK and US being the least likely of all generations to make a voice call; instead hey are embracing voice notes. Gen Z are the most likely generation to send voice notes daily – 28% more likely than older generations.
Social media is also seen by many as ‘a tool for inspiration’. Almost 3 in 10 Gen Z use social media to find inspiration for things. With product and brand discovery evolving across the likes of Instagram and TikTok, Gen Z discover products on social media more than they do on search engines, and millennials are not far behind.
Since 2019, finding new ideas or inspiration has jumped from 9th to 6th place in reasons for using the Internet.
GWI chief research officer Jason Mander commented: “With tech fatigue setting in, and Gen Z being 30% more likely to worry about the amount of time they spend on social media this year, Brits may be spending less time online overall, but they are still using their preferred platforms to stay informed, learn new things, and interact with like-minded people.”
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