Last Updated: December 13, 2021
Do you have a social media presence? You’re not the only one. Today, over 4 billion people around the world use social platforms, a number that is only expected to increase in the future.
To find out how popular social networks and communication apps are in the UK and how fast their user base is growing, check out the social media statistics from the UK we prepared for you.
Let’s dive in.
Ten Essential Social Media Statistics to Remember in 2021
- There are 45 million active social media users in the UK.
- UK adults spend over an hour on social media every day.
- Facebook is the most used social media platform in the UK.
- 58% of Facebook users in the UK log in more than once a day.
- There are 30.6 million Instagram users in the United Kingdom.
- 57.1% of Instagram users are women.
- 43% of Twitter users log on to the platform at least once a day.
- 81% of YouTube users live in urban areas.
- 98% of active social media users log on to their accounts through mobile phones.
- 35% of people in the UK use social media to get info on the pandemic.
Social Media Reach in the UK
1. There are 45 million active social media users in the UK.
There are 65 million internet users in the UK, the majority of whom have a social media profile. More specifically, 2020 social media use statistics show there are 45 million active users of social networks, accounting for 66% of the UK’s entire population. In terms of social media penetration, Britain is well above the global average of 45% and ranks 18th on the worldwide list.
2. England has the highest social media penetration rate.
72% of people in England use social media as do 70% of people in Wales and 69% of Scots. Northern Ireland has the lowest social media penetration rate—66% of people living in Northern Ireland have a social media presence.
3. 16 to 24-year olds are the biggest social media users.
95% of 16 to 24-year olds have a social media profile, making them the biggest users of social networking sites in Britain. As people get older, social media usage statistics by age point to a decline. Thus, while 93% of 25 to 34-year-olds have a social networking profile, the same is true for only 39% of the 65-74 age group and 21% of those aged 75 and over.
4. UK adults spend over an hour on social media every day.
As of September 2019, UK adults spent an average of three and a half hours online each day, the majority of which, or 1 hour and 8 minutes, is spent on social platforms. As the biggest users, 18-24 year-olds spend the most time on social networking sites, or 1 hour and 36 minutes as per the latest social media statistics in the UK.
5. 25% of social media users often share, post and comment on social media.
23% of social media users in the UK are passive, meaning that they only read or watch social networking content and occasionally like a post or comment. By contrast, 25% are active users who frequently post, share or comment on social media sites.
6. More than half of social media users know that personal information can be collected through networking sites.
When it comes to privacy issues and trustworthiness, Ofcom discovered the following:
- 26% of social media users do not check if the information they find online is truthful or not.
- 62% are aware that their personal data can be collected through their social media accounts and interactions.
These social networking statistics prove that even though the majority of users are aware of the dangers of social media, they still exhibit quite a lot of trust in the information they find on the internet.
7. Social media users are diversifying.
(Ofcom) (We Are Social)
Today, Brits have an average of 7.1 social media accounts. Even though Facebook is the most popular site, the number of users who only have an account on this platform is decreasing. Seven years ago, 48% of social media visitors used Facebook only, which dropped to 16% in 2019.
8. 19% of internet users in the UK discover new brands through social media ads.
Despite the widespread use of social media, marketing statistics show that these sites are not that prominent regarding the introduction of new brands. In fact, they are ranked seventh on the list, preceded by search engines, ads on TV, word-of-mouth, and in-store displays.
9. The best time to post on social media is Wednesday.
Knowing the best time to post on each social network can be a superior advantage for users, but even more for marketers.
Let’s take a look at peak engagement times of each social platform, according to Sprout Social:
- The best day in the week to post on Facebook is Wednesday, with the highest frequency between 11 a.m. and 1-2 p.m.
- On Instagram, the second most popular social network in the UK, the best times for posting are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.- 11 a.m.
- Peak user engagement on Twitter is Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.
- LinkedIn users are most active on Wednesday from 8-10 a.m. and at noon, Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1-2 p.m., and Friday at 9 a.m.
Social Media Usage Statistics by Platform
Now that we’ve seen how many people in the UK use social media, let’s break it down by platforms.
Facebook Facts and Statistics in the UK
10. Facebook is the most used social media platform in the UK.
Facebook is the UK’s leading social network. As of December 2020, there are 51 million UK Facebook users, an increase of 6 million compared to December 2019. Even more impressive: Facebook holds 54% of the market, which is twice as much as Twitter.
11. Individuals aged 25 to 34 are the biggest group of Facebook users.
When it comes to social media usage by age, people aged 25-34 dominate the platform with a total of 11.2 million users. The share of younger generations, specifically those aged between 18 and 24, has declined over the years, going down from 24% in 2012 to 16% in 2020. The number of seniors, however, has increased from just 4% in 2012 to 9% today.
12. In the UK women visit Facebook more frequently than men.
Even though both women and men are represented almost equally within this demographic, female Facebook users are somewhat more frequent on the site. Namely, social media stats tell us that 52% of Facebook users are females, and 48% are men.
13. 58% of Facebook users in the UK log in more than once a day.
According to Ofcom’s 2019 report, more than 35% of the time spent online in the UK, is spent on Facebook and Google sites. What’s more, nearly 60% of British Facebook users claimed that they logged in multiple times a day with the average amount of time spent on Facebook each day amounting to 23 minutes.
14. The Facebook page of Manchester United has the largest audience in the UK.
The most popular Facebook pages in the UK, with the largest number of fans, are:
- Manchester United: 73m+
- Adele: 61m+
- Jason Statham: 53m+
- David Beckham: 51m+
- UNILAD: 42m+
As we can see, sport and music-related pages dominate with the majority of Facebook users visiting these pages.
Instagram Statistics in the UK
15. There are 30.6 million Instagram users in the United Kingdom.
With the growth of internet penetration in the UK, the usage of Instagram has reached record-breaking levels. Today, Instagram sits as the fourth most popular social media platform in the UK, with a whopping 30.6 million users.
16. The majority of Instagram users are aged from 25 to 34.
An analysis of Instagram demographics in the UK shows that this is a platform favoured by younger users. As with Facebook, 25 to 34 year-olds make up the largest share of users with 30.1%, followed by the 18 to 24 age group. Those aged 65 and over account for the smallest share of users and are thus the least likely to have a profile on this platform.
17. 57.1% of Instagram users are women.
(Napoleon Cat) (Statista)
More than half of Instagram users in Britain are females. More notably, 57.1% are female users, while men account for almost 43%. Moreover, the majority of visitors on this platform in the UK are women under 24 — a survey by Statista shows that 71% of women between the ages of 15 to 24 use Instagram.
18. 54% of users visit Instagram several times a day.
Social media use in the UK is thriving, and Instagram is no exception. According to Statista, in 2020, 54% of Instagram users in the UK accessed the platform several times a day. Only 12% of them, on the other hand, reported using Instagram a few times per week.
19. David Beckham is the most popular UK influencer on Instagram.
(Influencer Marketing Hub)
As the fifth biggest site in the UK, in terms of reach, Instagram poses an incredible opportunity for celebs to connect with the fans.
These are the top-ranking UK influencers on Instagram:
- David Beckham: 50m+
- Emma Watson: 47m+
- Cara Delevingne: 41m+
- Gareth Bale: 35m+
- Zayn Malik: 29m+
Twitter Statistics in the UK
20. There are 16.65 million Twitter users in the UK.
(Statista) (Business Times)
Have you ever wondered how many people in the UK use Twitter? As of October 2020, the United Kingdom is among the top five leading countries based on the number of Twitter users, with 16.65 million. Social media stats from the UK further indicate that the number has grown significantly from 2019 when there were 13.7 million Twitter users.
21. 43% of Twitter users log on to the platform at least once a day.
(Business Times) (Statista)
Data on Twitter demographics and usage reveals the following:
- Across the globe, Twitter has more female than male users (70% vs 30%); however, in Great Britain, the situation is reversed. In the UK, males use the platform more than females, with 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.
- This social media network is also the most popular among adults. 33% of respondents in a 2018 survey who had used Twitter were 15 to 24-year-olds, whereas over half were aged 35 or over.
- Most Twitter users in the UK (43%) reported that they use the platform several times a day. 15%, on the other hand, said that they log on several times per week.
22. Dua Lipa’s Twitter profile was one of the fastest-growing in the UK in December 2020.
According to Social Baker’s social media stats, these are the fastest-growing Twitter accounts in the United Kingdom for December 2020.
- Premier League: +480,145 followers
- BBC News (World): +443,823 followers
- Manchester United: +350,182 followers
- Zayn: +339,720 followers
- DUA LIPA: +281,884 followers
23. Harry Styles’ profile had the largest Twitter audience in the UK in 2019 (36m+).
On the other hand, the most popular political profile is the Mayor of London’s official Twitter account, with more than 3.3 million followers. The Mayor’s personal profile is also listed among the top ten most followed accounts on Twitter with 1.1 million followers.
TikTok Usage Stats in the UK
24. TikTok has more than 3.7 million users in the United Kingdom.
(Social films) (Statista)
TikTok had its biggest success in March 2020 when the app was downloaded 115 million times, 745,000 of which were in Britain alone, social media consumption statistics in the UK reveal.
According to Airnow, this video-sharing platform had 6 million monthly active users in the UK in May 2020, a considerable growth from 2017 when TikTok was launched.
25. TikTok is most popular with Gen Z.
Who uses TikTok in the UK?
- This app is adopted mostly by the younger generation of internet users in the UK and is especially popular among Generation Z. In fact; the largest TikTok audience is individuals aged between 18-24.
- In December 2019, the platform was used by more than 25% of smartphone users in the UK younger than 24.
- TikTok is favoured by female smartphone users compared to their male counterparts, with shares of 10 and 7.5 per cent each.
- This entertaining social media is very popular among children in the UK aged 4-15, who spend an average of 69 minutes daily on TikTok.
With so many of us staying at home, watching video content as well as creating it became a regular pastime. No wonder TikTok emerged as one of the biggest social media trends for 2020 in the UK and the rest of the world.
Let’s take a look at which were the most viewed and shared TikTok videos of 2020:
- Lion at safari: 20.9m likes
- Time Warp scan smoking: 15.1m likes
- Satisfying flooring: 7.8m likes
- Guy sings What’s Up: 6.6m likes
- Christiano Ronaldo model: 6.4m likes
- Guy cleans swimming pool: 4.8m likes
- Satisfying cement: 4.6m likes
- Football freestyle: 3.4m likes
- Wholesome grandad content: 3.2m likes
- Ping pong ball trick shot: 2.7m likes
YouTube Statistics in the UK
26. 78% of British internet users aged 16 to 64 use YouTube.
Data from Q3 2019 reveals that YouTube is the most active social media site in the UK. With over 78% of people reporting that they use the platform, YouTube has an incredibly high reach in the UK, even edging ahead of Facebook (73%) and WhatsApp (62%).
27. 81% of YouTube users live in urban areas.
(Business of Apps)
A closer look at YouTube user statistics shows that:
Women in the UK use YouTube more than men (80% vs 78%)
- YouTube is most popular among 18 to 24-year-olds. 97% of this age group use this video-sharing site.
- It’s least prevalent among those aged 75 and over. Only 40% of this generation uses YouTube.
- 81% of internet users in the UK living in urban areas use YouTube compared to 72% in rural areas.
28. 19% of users access YouTube several times a day.
A Statista survey of around 2000 respondents shows that almost 20% access the platform several times a day. 14% use YouTube once a day, while 17% do so once every few days. Surprisingly, 21% of respondents reported that they never used the video-sharing platform.
29. Brothers Vlad and Nikita are the richest YouTubers, 2020 social media statistics indicate.
Topping the list with £240,500 per video and over 34.5 million subscribers, Vlad and Nikita earn the most per video on YouTube. Next in line are Dude Perfect making an estimated £231,800 per video and Anastasia Radzinskaya, whose channel Like Nastya earns her about £198,700 per video.
30. With over 18 billion views, Ed Sheeran’s YouTube channel is the most popular in the UK.
These are the five most popular YouTube channels in the UK:
- Ed Sheeran: 43,000,000 subscribers and more than 18 billion views.
- DanTDM: 22,200,000 subscribers and more than 15 billion views.
- CalvinHarrisVEVO: 12,400,000 subscribers and over 11 billion views.
- Coldplay: 15,800,00 subscribers and more than 9 billion views.
- OneDirectionVEVO: 22,800,00 subscribers and about 9 billion views.
Communication Apps Usage in the UK
As a result of the increasing number of internet users, as well as the nationwide lockdown at the start of the year, communication apps like Whatsapp, Messenger, and Snapchat saw the number of users and downloads skyrocket in 2020.
The latest stats and facts on these apps in Great Britain look like this:
- The number one messenger server in the UK is Whatsapp used regularly by 81 per cent of respondents in a 2020 survey. 75% of participants in the same poll use Facebook Messenger, and 25% use Snapchat.
- Another survey shows that 65% of respondents used Whatsapp several times per day. Only 11% of them used the communication app a couple of times a week.
- 18.70 million people can be reached with ads on Snapchat. According to social media advertising statistics, 56.5% of Snapchat’s ad audience are women, whereas 43.1% are men.
Social Media Usage by Device and Operating System
31. 98% of active social media users log on to their accounts through mobile phones.
Ofcom reports that eight in ten adults are smartphone users in the UK, while an impressive 71% of time spent online is smartphones. Keeping these stats in mind, it’s no wonder the majority of British social media users access their accounts through mobiles rather than desktop.
32. On Google Play, TikTok is the most popular social media app for 2020.
With 219.9 thousand downloads, TikTok is the most popular social app on Google Play in the UK. Instagram follows with about 132.2 thousand downloads.
33. WhatsApp is among the five most downloaded apps on Apple Store.
These platforms are preceded only by ZOOM Cloud Meetings and the NHS’s COVID-19 tracing app, the popularity of which has soared as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
34. YouTube is the third highest-reaching app on Android and iPhone, social media trends reveal.
Based on reach, YouTube is ranked third both on Androids and iPhones. On Android phones, it’s preceded by other Google-owned apps, Google Play and Google Search. By contrast, on iPhones, it stands behind social media sites Instagram and WhatsApp.
The Impact of Covid on Social Media Usage
35. 35% of people in the UK use social media to get info on the pandemic.
With the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine shaping most of our existence in 2020, the role of social media and communication platforms has reached a new peak, especially when it comes to reading and sharing news about the pandemic.
- In a period of 7 days, a third of Brits have turned to social media to get information and updates on the COVID-19 situation in the country and the world.
- 14% of shared information about the COVID-19 outbreak across various social networking platforms.
- 79% believed that fake news about the coronavirus pandemic should not be posted or shared on social media.
36. 13% of UK Tweets are related to coronavirus.
The coronavirus affected not just what people read or watch, but what they post as well, media consumption statistics in the UK suggest. More specifically, YouTube sees tens of millions of search queries and billions of views related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, Twitter reported that 13% of UK tweets are currently about the novel coronavirus.
37. The UK government is working with social media influencers to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
In a bold move to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the British government has paid several media influencers, typically those with 1.5 million followers, to promote the NHS test and COVID-19 contact tracing app among the UK population.
As we can see from these social media statistics in the UK, networking sites have never been more popular. No one can tell what will happen in the future, but based on current trends, it’s highly likely that social media will only continue to grow both in popularity and usage. So the best thing we can do is go with the flow and enjoy the future benefits social media might deliver.
- Business of Apps
- Business Times
- Influencer Marketing Hub
- Napoleon Cat
- Social Bakers
- Social Bakers
- Social Bakers
- Social Films
- Social Films
- Sprout Social
- The Conversation
- The tab
- Total Media
- We Are Social
- Yahoo Finance