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News March 19, 2018

U.S. social media use is down in 2018

Lars Brandle
U.S. social media use is down in 2018

The social media age is not about to come crashing down. And, no, Facebook isn’t about to go the way of MySpace. Take it to the bank. Though new research into consumer habits in the United States does suggest social screentime has plateaued and the big boy on the block, Facebook, is losing traction.

According to The Infinite Dial, an annual report compiled by Edison Research and Triton Digital, social media usage in the U.S. actually slowed in the early stages of this year after hitting a new high in 2017.

Researchers interviewed 2,000 Americans earlier this year on their digital media habits, covering off smart speaker and tablet ownership, how often they tuned into the radio while driving and, of course, their favourite social media brands. What they found was that 80% of Americans aged 12 or more used social media on a regular basis last year, but this year that figure is down to 77%. Also, Facebook usage shrunk by 5 percentage points during the period to 62%, for a total of 174 million users. Most of the defections come from the 12 to 34 age group, down in usage by 12 percentage points, notes Hypebot, while the 35 to 54 age group is down slightly, at 3%. There’s no change for folks aged 54-plus. The portion of Americans aged 12-plus using Facebook has declined from 67% to 62%

And which platforms cannibalized Facebook? Step on up Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Snapchat is recognized as the No. 2 brand in social media in the U.S., up from 9% of all social media users in 2017 to 14% in 2018, though still a long way behind Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are up 2 percentage points to 12% and 5%, respectively. Not surprisingly, younger social media users are accelerating this switch.

Your “post-Facebook” friends might enjoy a moment to gloat, though Mark Zuckerberg’s social network isn’t at the tipping point of irrelevance. When Americans use social media, almost two-thirds still use Facebook, the company’s market cap is north of $500 billion and the social media titan is reportedly evolving into hardware with a range of smart speakers, a wise move considering 18% of Americans aged 12-plus (about 51 million people), live in households that have at least one Smart Speaker, well up from just 7% reported this time last year, according to the new research.

Also, Pandora (31%) was found to be the most listened-to platform among Americans, ahead of Spotify (20%), iHeartRadio (11%) and Apple Music (10%).

The Infinite Dial data is a handy reminder that tastes change, tech has to adapt and the race to engage with consumers is an actual sprint.

Study the slides here.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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