Written by, Ljubica Gjorgievska
Updated September, 15, 2022
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.
(Statista) (Statista) (DataReportal)
There are 67 million internet users in the UK, the majority of whom have a social media profile. More specifically, 2022 social media use statistics show there are 57.6 million active users of social networks, accounting for 84.3% of the UK’s entire population. In terms of social media penetration, Britain is well above the global average of 45% and ranks 16th on the worldwide list, climbing two spots since last year.
There is a double tie in the social media penetration of UK nations with 88% of people in England and Scotland using social media. Northern Ireland and Wales are tied with social media penetration rate of 86%.
The latest 2022 Ofcom Adults’ Media use report states that 98% 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 97% of 25 to 34-year-olds have a social networking profile, the same is true for only 67% of the 65+ age group.
In 2021, UK adults spent an average of 4 hours online each day, the majority of which, or 1 hour and 48 minutes, is spent on social platforms. Listening to music through streaming services and reading news media followed next with 77 and 76 minutes, respectively.
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.
When it comes to privacy issues and trustworthiness, Ofcom discovered the following:
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.
(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 17% in 2022.
The 2022 Shopper Experience Index social media marketing statistics show that 51% of social media users make purchases through the social networks they use, with 41% of users making one or two purchase a month.
(Sprout Social) (Influencer Marketing Hub)
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:
Now that we’ve seen how many people in the UK use social media, let’s break it down by platforms.
With about 75% of internet users in the UK using the service, the WhatsApp social network was the most popular among the social media platforms, as of the third quarter of 2021. Following closely in second place, Facebook came in at a rate of 73.5%.
When it comes to social media usage by age, people aged 25-34 dominate the platform, making up 24.3% of Facebook’s users in the UK. The share of younger generations, specifically those aged between 18 and 24, has seen a slight increase since 2020 when it was at 16%, currently sitting at 18.8%. The number of seniors, however, has increased from just 4% in 2012 to 9.3% today.
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 53.4% of Facebook users are female, and 46.6% are male.
In 2020, more than 35% of the time spent online in the UK, is spent on Facebook and Google sites. What’s more, 58% 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. 20% of users said they login only once a day, and only 4% once a week.
The most popular Facebook pages in the UK, with the largest number of fans, are:
As we can see, sport and music-related pages dominate with the majority of Facebook users visiting these pages.
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 34.6 million users.
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 30.8%, followed by the 18 to 24 age group which is at 23.9%. Those aged 65 and over account for the smallest share (2.8%) of users and are thus the least likely to have a profile on this platform.
(Napoleon Cat) (Statista)
More than half of Instagram users in Britain are female. More notably, 55.5% are female users, while men account for almost 44.5%. 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.
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.
(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:
The most cited reasoning for having several Instagram accounts were maintaining one for a specific interest or business, or having one for a smaller group of friends and another for a larger circle of contacts.
(Statista) (Business Times) (DataReportal)
Have you ever wondered how many people in the UK use Twitter? As of early 2022, the United Kingdom is among the top five leading countries based on the number of Twitter users, with 18.20 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.
(Business Times) (Statista)
Data on Twitter demographics and usage reveals the following:
According to Social Baker’s social media stats, these are the fastest-growing Twitter accounts in the United Kingdom for December 2020.
With over 51 million followers, BBC’s dedicated account for breaking news alerts is the most followed British account. Ex-One Direction bandmates Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson have the next two biggest twitter accounts with 38 and 36 million followers, respectively.
(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.
Over the last 2 years TikTok has grown even more and currently has over 8.9 million active users in 2022.
Who uses TikTok in the UK?
The breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused so many of us to stay 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:
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%).
(Business of Apps)
A closer look at YouTube user statistics shows that:
Women in the UK use YouTube more than men (80% vs 78%)
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.
Forbes’ YouTube rich list revealed the 24-year-old American content creator as the highest earning YouTuber of 2021 who made approximately £46m.
These are the five most popular YouTube channels in the UK:
As a result of the increasing number of internet users, as well as the nationwide lockdown at the start 2020, communication apps like Whatsapp, Messenger, and Snapchat saw the number of users and downloads skyrocket.
The latest stats and facts on these apps in Great Britain look like this:
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.
With 219.9 thousand downloads, TikTok is the most popular social app on Google Play in the UK. It is followed by the latest social media BeReal that is creating a buzz in the online world and Instagram.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a writer for Don’t Disappoint Me, my job is to collect relevant key information and interpret it into a wide range of content. I also have an MSc in Marketing, so I am always trying to expand my knowledge and discover new and exciting areas of digital marketing, SEO and web traffic building. I am a nature enthusiast, so when I’m not researching and analyzing, I love to go hiking with my dogs, camping, or snowboarding. I am a bookaholic as well and have an ongoing obsession with crime TV shows and movies.