We are continuously becoming a more connected global society. Did you know that the average time people spend online is almost seven hours per day? (Or 6 hours, 58 minutes, to be more precise… four minutes more than last year.) This means that we spend 40% of our waking hours online. Moreover, the growth of social media users is speeding up too, having more than tripled in the last ten years—going from 1.5 billion in 2012 to 4.6 billion in January 2022, an annual average of 12%. These are just a couple of statistics that have emerged from We Are Social's new report on digital trends of 2021.
People’s favorite platform
The data speaks for itself: as far as social networks are concerned, Instagram has surpassed Facebook as the preferred platform with 15% vs. 14.5% respectively. However, coming in first with 16% of the vote is WhatsApp. In terms of content, people tend to pay for access to digital content. In fact, more than seven out of ten people claim they pay for this type of monthly service—eight out of ten when speaking about Millennials alone. Audio and video streaming platforms (Spotify or Netflix) are especially popular, making a $300 billion profit in 2021.
Though we prefer Instagram, Facebook still remains the most-used platform
Facebook remains the most-used platform in the world, with 2.9 billion users as of October 2021. It saw a 6% growth in the last year (gaining 170 million more users).
Coming in second is YouTube, quickly gaining ground in the ratings with twice the growth rate than that of Facebook. In third and fourth place are WhatsApp and Instagram. Instagram has seen a 21% increase in users compared to last year.
Online shopping: one of the pandemic’s legacies
There's no sign of slowing down on the online-shopping-front: about three out of five people buy something online every week, a trend that continued to rise over the course of the past year. This indicates that new behaviors that arose during the first lockdown remain and people aren’t reverting back to their pre-pandemic behaviors when it comes to shopping.
Another interesting statistic is that about one in four people use social networks for work purposes—a figure that has sky-rocketed in some developing countries.
Internet behavioral trends
In regard to our use of the internet, the THINK FORWARD 2022 (wearesocial.com) offers up some interesting data. Did you know, for example, that the feeling evoked from others matters more than the content we intend to share?
It’s helpful to note the growing emphasis on the immense amount of digital content categorized in the genre of "vibes." It's about creating moments and a specific mood (like watching a sunset, or flying above the clouds, etc.). It's about curating a specific mood or feeling.
Did you know that 8% of social media users around the world have already invested in digital assets? In May 2021, Gucci sold a virtual bag for a game for about $4,115… and the bag can’t even be used outside of the game! It sold for a higher price than the offline version (at retail, the same bag sold for about $3,400).
Finally, did you know that on social media, you can become famous by making fun of famous people? In August 2021, Khaby Lame became the second person (after Charli D'Amelio) to surpass 100 million followers on TikTok. His “thing” is making fun of other TikTokers. And he's just one of several creators who have also been successful in producing this sort of content.
The “meme genre” is becoming a new art form. Brands have begun to realize that they need to take part in this new trend.
Taken as a whole, this data raises a few questions: will we return to having a clear boundary between real life and the digital world? With the end of the pandemic—which has heightened our sense of isolation and enhanced our “digital identity”—will there be an increase in personal relationships without screens in between us?
Until the next reports... the arduous sentence.