Social media statistics

Research into how the UK and the world is using social media

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Thanks to smartphones and faster Internet, social media has become an integral part of many of our lives. Whether you think this is a good thing or bad thing, we can all agree that it has had a huge impact on the way we lead our lives today. With this in mind we did some research into the biggest social networks and found some pretty impressive stats.

Quick facts

  • There are more than 25 million businesses on Instagram
  • 20 billion Facebook messages are sent between people and businesses every month
  • In 2018, 59% (40.2 million) of the UK’s population used social media

Unsurprisingly, Facebook has the most active users at 2.4 billion. This is 400 million more than YouTube, whose 2 billion active users means it ranks in second spot. WhatsApp, the messaging app, comes in third with 1.6 billion active users worldwide. Other famous sites like Instagram and Twitter came in 6th (1 billion) and 12th (300 million), respectively.

Social networks Number of active users (in millions)
Facebook 2,375
Youtube 2,000
WhatsApp 1,600
Facebook Messenger 1,300
WeChat 1,112
Instagram 1,000
QQ 823
QZone 572
Douyin/ Tik Tok 500
Siano Weibo 465
Reddit 330
Twitter 330
Douban 320
LinkedIn 310
Snapchat 294
Pintrest 265
Viber 260
Discord 250

Amount of time spent on social media

We would probably all admit to spending a little too much time on our phones, but despite many of us being aware of this bad habit, the average amount of time spent on our phones per day is increasing. Since 2012, there has been a global increase of 51% in the average amount of time spent on social media. The biggest yearly increase was seen between 2014 and 2015 with the amount of time spent scrolling increasing by 15.6% in just 1 year.

Year Daily time spent on social media worldwide (in minutes)
2012 90
2013 95
2014 101
2015 109
2016 126
2017 135
2018 136

Amount of messages sent

We conducted a survey to see how many messages Brits thought they sent using traditional texting methods (including iMessage) and social media. Brits estimated that on average they sent 29 messages every week by text or iMessage, while they predicted the average amount of messages sent through social media was 57. This means that, on average, Brits send almost twice as many messages on social media than texting. The most popular form of social media messaging was via WhatsApp – Brits said that on average they sent 26 messages on WhatsApp every week.

Platform Average number of messages sent per week
Traditional Texts & iMessagging 29
Total social media messages 57
-WhatsApp 26
-Facebook messages 16
-Instagram messages 5
-Snapchat messages 7
-Other (e.g. viber) 4

Age breakdowns

When we think of social media we often think of teenagers being glued to their phones. However, across all the social media platforms that we analysed, the highest proportion of their users were 25–34 years old. Snapchat was the only exception to this, with the most popular age group being 18–24, with 112.2 million users worldwide falling within this age bracket.


Users (in millions)
13-17 134
18-24 570
25-34 670
35-44 340
45-54 207
55-66 116
65+ 84


Users (in millions)
13-17 57
18-24 280.4
25-34 290.4
35-44 142.2
45-54 73.1
55-66 32
65+ 19.8


Users (in millions)
13-17 25.5
18-24 59.8
25-34 78.5
35-49 52.5
50+ 34.4


Users (in millions)
13-17 54.3
18-24 112.2
25-34 71.3
35+ 53.9


Users (in millions)
18-24 140.2
25-34 228.8
25-54 180.4
55+ 55


We are Social

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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