We cannot imagine the world without social media: a statement that is reinforced every day, especially since the Covid-19 lockdowns have further increased the use of these digital platforms. In this context of social media growth, Facebook has managed to remain the leader of social networks with the most users in the world, according to the latest Digital 2023 report by We Are Social.
Facebook is approaching 3 billion users worldwide
One more year, the social network with the most users in the world is Facebook. If in 2022 the report indicated that Facebook had 2.91 billion users, 6.2% more than in 2021, for this 2023 report Mark Zuckerberg’s social network now has 2.958 billion (+1.65%). Youtube, Whatsapp, and Instagram continue to accompany it on the podium.
Among the top spots on the chart are networks with strong presence in specific geographic areas such as Douyin, Sina Weibo, QQ, and Kuaishou (a Chinese video social network, similar to Youtube), prevalent in Asia.
Instagram, the undisputed leader in growth
Zuckerberg continues to bring together the largest social networks with the most users in the world: Facebook (2.958 billion users), WhatsApp (2.000 billion users), Instagram (2.000 billion users), and Messenger (931 million users), all of them in the top 7 of this ranking. In the case of Instagram, the rise is notable and reveals itself as the great protagonist in terms of growth: the app has 522 million more users (+35.3%).
This year, YouTube suffers a slight loss of users (-1.87%), going from 2.562 billion to 2.514 billion, but still maintains its second position.
As for TikTok, although last year it was the social app that grew the most (+45%), this year the Chinese-origin social network has again increased its number of users but in a more moderate way, having 5.1% more users than in 2022.
Meanwhile, Twitter continues to recover from the years of stagnation it experienced until 2022 (when it returned to user growth, specifically 23%) and in 2023 it registers an increase of 27.5% which takes it to reach 556 million users.
Favorite social media platforms among users
Regarding the favorite social media platforms of the public, WhatsApp is the preferred one globally with 15.8%, followed by Instagram (14.3%) and Facebook (14.2%). WeChat, the “WhatsApp of China,” appears in fourth place with 12.2%, while this year, TikTok surpasses Douyin (its exclusive version for the Chinese market) in preference with 6.1% compared to 5.7%.
Social media users by age
If we look at age-based classification, we can see that Instagram is the favorite app of women aged between 16 and 24 (23.1%), as well as those between 25 and 34 years old (17.6%). On the other hand, women aged 35 to 44 (15.4%) and those aged 55 to 64 (20.3%) prefer WhatsApp, while those between 45 and 54 (16.9%) prefer Facebook.
As for men, those aged 16 to 24 (21.3%) prefer Instagram, while Facebook is the favorite of the male population aged 25 to 34 (15.7%). For the older age groups, men aged 45 to 54 (18.5%) and those aged 55 to 64 (19.5%) prioritize WhatsApp as their main social network. And this year, there is a tie between WhatsApp and Facebook as the preferred social network for men aged 35 to 44 (17.1%).
Average social media usage time
During 2021, the daily use time of social media increased by 2% worldwide, reaching 2 hours and 31 minutes, adding three more minutes, just as it happened the previous year when the average of 2 hours and 25 minutes that was maintained in 2019 and 2020 was broken.
Similarly, Spain is one of the countries that is below the global average, with a daily average use of social media of 1 hour and 55 minutes, and South Korea (1h 11min) and Japan (51min) are the countries where the least daily time is spent on social media. On the other hand, we find Nigeria (4h 36min), Brazil (3h 46min), South Africa (3h 44min), and the Philippines (3h 43min).
Regarding average usage time, younger users are the ones who make more intensive use of social media: between 16 and 24 years old, women spend 3 hours and 11 minutes, and men spend 2 hours and 46 minutes on social media. On the other hand, women aged 25 to 34 spend an average of 2 hours and 56 minutes on social media, while men in that same age range connect for 2 hours and 42 minutes. The adults aged 55 to 64 spend the least time on social media: women in that age group spend an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media, while men spend 1 hour and 38 minutes.
Countries with the most social media users
The United Arab Emirates is, once again, the country with the highest social media usage in relation to its population, registering 105.5% usage of these platforms in the last year. Although it may seem overwhelming that a country can have more users than population, we must not forget that a person can have multiple profiles even on the same social network, so it is not so far-fetched after all.
They are followed by South Korea (92%), Hong Kong (89.9%), the Netherlands (88.1%), and Canada (85.7%). Spain continues to climb positions, last year it rose from 30th place to eleventh, and now it is the sixth country with the most users on social media, with 85.6% of its population.
Why we use social media platforms
Staying in touch with family and friends (47.1%) was the primary reason why many turned to social media in 2022, followed by passing the time (36.2%), reading news (34.2%) in third place, searching for content (30.3%) in fourth place, and seeing what’s most talked about (28.8%) in fifth place.
Types of Most Followed Accounts
Regarding the types of accounts that are most followed on social media, 44.9% of global users follow family, friends, or people they know. On the other hand, 29.1% follow accounts of actors, comedians, etc., while 27.7% gave a “follow” in 2022 to accounts of entertainment, parodies, and memes. Likewise, 27.3% keep up with news from TV programs or channels, 27% opted to follow musicians, singers, bands, etc., and 25% follow restaurants, chefs, and professionals related to the world of gastronomy.
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