According to a recent survey, the use of social media among millennials and Generation Z has increased by 78 percent. However, 25 percent of baby boomers and older people used the channels for the first time last year. At the forefront: YouTube. […]
According to a social media study by Sortlist, which surveyed 500 people in European countries, the use of social media has increased by almost 80 percent in 2020. Lockdowns, exit restrictions and contact bans explain this sharp increase. 25 Percent of the over-60s who currently use social tools only joined last year. To balance their isolation a little and stay in touch with important people, the vast majority of this age group turns to digital social channels.
Why use social media?
When younger generations were asked why they use social media, the most common response in France (33 percent), Germany (38 percent) and the Netherlands (30 percent) was to be entertained. In Spain, however, this was the answer with the fewest votes (14 percent). The main goal of the Spaniards was and is to keep in touch with friends and family (37 percent). This explains the incredibly high number of 95 percent of Spaniards under the age of 35 who use WhatsApp.
In terms of entertainment, audiovisual content is by far the leading form of content among those under 35, with up to 62 percent of respondents in the Netherlands considering it their preferred digital content format. Among the baby boomers and the elderly, all countries reported that they use social media mainly to stay in touch, that is, for their social life. In Spain, this is even 41 percent. In addition, older Spaniards, just like their younger generations, show a preference for the video format (36 percent) compared to others. In France (42 percent), Germany (46 percent) and the Netherlands (39 percent), the older age groups showed a preference for written content despite the digital format.
Up to 80 percent of those under 35 can’t imagine leaving social media.
Platform preferences of generations
Despite increasing competition, Facebook continues to be the most used social media platform in the world, with 2.8 billion monthly active users. In the group of under 35-year-olds, Facebook was ranked 5th among the most used platforms. 64 Percent of respondents said they currently use this platform. The three most important platforms in comparison were YouTube (89 percent), WhatsApp (83 percent) and Instagram (82 percent).
In contrast to millennials, the over-60s confirm the latest research findings. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents said they are active on Facebook, making it the most used social media platform in their age group. In second place is WhatsApp with 71 percent and in third place is YouTube (67 percent). Between the two age groups, the younger generations are much more attracted to video content than to written content or social communication channels. But why is that?
YouTube instead of Netflix
In recent years, user behavior on YouTube has changed significantly. According to its own data, YouTube reaches more adults aged 18 and over than any cable channel during prime time. It is no longer a “on-the-go video streaming platform”.
Three-quarters of adults say they watch YouTube videos at home on their mobile devices, and in the older survey groups, YouTube was used more often than Netflix. But even though the older generations had a high percentage of YouTube users, they still showed a preference for social communication channels.
Usage time per day compared
36 Percent of respondents spend between one and two hours a day on social media platforms. This was the most voted answer in Spain (46 percent) and the Netherlands (47 percent).In France and Germany, the majority of baby boomers responded with 51 percent and 38 percent, respectively, that they spend less than an hour a day online.
Among the over-60s in France and Germany, 40 percent or more of respondents said that social media does not add value to their daily lives – at least 25 percent more than in the Netherlands and Spain. 32 Percent of those under 35 want to use social media less.