LONDON, 22nd June, 2023: Research from leading audience insights company, GWI, has revealed that the average daily time spent on social media has declined globally since last year - a trend that’s been reported just once before in over ten years of tracking usage. 

The new report from GWI represents more than 970,000 consumers, offering insights into the social media landscape, from less time spent scrolling to how people are spending their time on social platforms.

Despite social media usage declining overall, popularity of apps like TikTok are continuing to rise in 2023. Whilst WhatsApp retains its position as the world’s favorite social media platform, TikTok is climbing up the ranks, with the number of consumers citing TikTok as their preferred social media platform doubling in the last two years. 

The report also found 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’s trending/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 US and UK being the least likely of all generations to make a voice call, they’re instead 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 aren’t far behind. Since 2019, finding new ideas or inspiration has jumped from 9th to 6th place in reasons for using the internet.

Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer at GWI, commented:

“Our data offers a window into how UK consumers are starting to utilize social media in a more deliberate and intentional manner, as opposed to just ‘passing the time’. With tech fatigue setting in, especially among younger audiences - with 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 utilizing their preferred platforms to stay informed, learn new things, and interact with like-minded people”.

For more insights, the full report can be found here.