Age Drives Affinity for Social Media Platforms


With recently released data from our Survey of the American Consumer we decided to dig into some consumer media trends. Looking first at social media, we see that age drives affinity for social media platforms. While Facebook is popular across all age groups, Instagram and Snapchat are growing in popularity among younger adults.

In 2019, 73% of 18-24 year olds indicated they used Instagram and 69% used Snapchat in the last 30 days; that percentage is up 11% and 4% respectively from 2017 for the two social media platforms. Instagram and Snapchat both offer features such as photo and video sharing as well as instant messaging and chat services.

In contrast, Instagram and Snapchat among 25-34 year olds is not nearly as popular. In 2019, only 54% indicated they used Instagram and 39% Snapchat in the last 30 days. Facebook, however, continues to be the main social media choice among the 25-34 year old age group with 78% indicating they have used the platform in the last 30 days. While Facebook is also still widely used among 18-24 year olds (75% indicated using Facebook in the last 30 days in 2019), it has experienced a 5% decrease among the age group within the past two years. These trends suggest that this younger age group is making room to share photos and videos in addition to status updates.

Turning to chat, Snapchat’s DM feature, Snapchat Chat, has seen a 9% increase from 2017 among 18-24, with 65% indicating they have used the service in the past 30 days in 2019; now tied with Facebook Messenger for the most usage. Most interesting is the video chat service FaceTime, which saw the highest percent increase in usage over the past two years among 18-24 year olds; up 14% from 2017, with now 50% indicating they have used the service in the last 30 days. These increases in usage of instant messaging services offered by social media and smartphone companies could indicate this age group desires for a deeper connection with friends and family online as well as off.

Overall Media Trends

What a difference five years can make. From 2014 to 2019 the number of adults who live in a “corded” TV household (cable, satellite, fiber optic) decreased 21% with 64% now reporting they lived in a “corded” TV household. Additionally, in 2014, 24% of adults reported reading a printed daily newspaper and now in 2019 13% report the same; a 46% decrease within five years.    Cell phone usage, on the other hand, especially smartphones continue to increase.  From 2014 to 2019, smartphone ownership among adults increased 30%, bringing the total to 90% adult ownership.  And cellphones continue to replace landlines, as 66% of adults in 2019 now live in a cell phone-only home, compared to 45% 5 years ago, a 46% increase.   Trends toward digital life show no signs of abating.

Courtney Renz
Courtney Renz
Courtney Renz is a Senior Research Project Associate at MRI-Simmons on the Syndicated Research Team. Her main focus is updating the Survey of the American Consumer and tracking market trends and changes. She is passionate about using market research insights to create compelling and interesting stories.