YouTube is the UK’s favourite social media

72% of 11-12 year-olds use TikTok every week. — AFP Relaxnews

Internet users in the UK are more fond of YouTube than Facebook. The video streaming platform overtook Meta’s social network as the UK’s most-used social media in May 2023. And while 18-24 year-olds visit an average of six platforms, 96% of them go to YouTube, according to the latest Ofcom report.

In the UK, YouTube has overtaken Facebook (including Messenger) to become the most-used social platform. With a total adult audience of 43.5 million in May 2023, the video platform is used by 91% of online adults, according to the Online Nation report from the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom.

Facebook, meanwhile, comes in second place, recording a drop of 1.4 million adult visitors between May 2022 and May 2023. With a total adult audience of 43.4 million, it is used by more than nine in ten adults.

TikTok on the rise

TikTok saw a notable increase, overtaking LinkedIn to reach fifth place with an audience of 21.2 million UK adults in May 2023, an increase of 4.6 million compared to May 2022. Some 44% of online adults use TikTok (+9 pts in one year), which continues to appeal strongly to young adults, indicating a shift in social media preferences among younger generations.

The photo-sharing app BeReal has grown in popularity, particularly among 18-24 year-olds, reaching 1.4 million UK adult users in May 2023. CapCut, a video editing app, has also grown in popularity, especially among younger users.

Demographic differences

The research reports that almost all children (97%) aged 8 to 12 had visited a social networking service, with notable differences in usage by age. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat were widely used, with a trend for greater usage among older children.

Between January and February 2023, 96% of 8-12 year-olds went on YouTube, 72% on Facebook, and 66% on TikTok. Some 72% of 11-12 year-olds used TikTok, compared with 37% of 8-10 year-olds. Even though the Chinese platform is technically out-of-bounds for under-13s, one in five 8-10 year-olds visited the app every day.

Among internet users aged between 18 and 24, half of whom use six social networks, 96% visited YouTube in May 2023, 87% went on Facebook and Facebook Messenger, 86% went on Instagram, 72% on TikTok, 71% on Snapchat and 61% on X, formerly TikTok.

Girls spend longer on Snapchat

There are clear differences in the amount of time spent on social networks by age group. For example, Facebook visitors aged 45 and over spent an average of 29 minutes a day on the platform, compared to just 12 minutes for 18-24 year-olds.

Conversely, young adults spent more time on platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat: “In May 2023 the 3.8 million UK 18-24-year-old TikTok visitors spent an average 55 minutes on TikTok per day (May 2022: 3.5 million, 53 minutes), while the 3.8 million 18-24-year-old Snapchat visitors spent 58 minutes per day (May 2022: 3.5 million, 42 minutes).

“In comparison, those aged 45+ visiting TikTok (8.2 million) and Snapchat (1.8 million) spent on average 9 minutes daily on each service in May 2023 (May 2022: TikTok 11 minutes and Snapchat 5 minutes),” reads the report.

The 36% of online 8-12-year-olds who used Snapchat spent an average of 1 hour and 18 minutes a day on the app, with girls spending 33 minutes more on the app than boys.

And while YouTube was the most popular choice, used by 96% of online 8-12-year-olds, they spent less time on the platform, at 63 minutes. Unlike Snapchat, boys spent longer on YouTube than girls, with 1 hour and 19 minutes versus 48 minutes.

As for TikTok, the 66% of TikTok-using online 8-12 year-olds spent 46 minutes a day on the platform, with 52 minutes for girls and 37 minutes for boys. – AFP Relaxnews

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