In a diversifying landscape of devices and a smattering of social platforms, consumers are keeping it simple. Nielsen’s 2016 Social Media report revealed that despite the slew of options individuals have at their fingertips, Facebook still dominates the majority of social engagement, especially with Millennials — sorry, Snapchat. The report also confirmed that research, communication and shopping are increasingly performed on mobile devices.
The report detailed the top social networking platforms on smartphones and desktops. In September 2016 Facebook secured the top position on both devices even though usage levels varied dramatically. Including web and app use, almost 179 million unique users visited Facebook on a smartphone. On PCs, Facebook secured just over 90 million unique visits. It was between Twitter and Instagram for the second spot — Instagram won out in the smartphone sector at 91.5 million unique visitors during the same period; Twitter secured the second spot for PC unique visits at 32.7 million visits in September 2016 — nearly a third of the smartphone Instagram use.
Regardless of usage frequency, individuals found that using social media was very or somewhat important to discover a brand’s new product or services. What are they buying? Online shoppers within the study’s segments — heavy, medium and light — all purchased clothing and accessories above other product offerings. Forty-eight percent of heavy and medium social media users — those who average daily three hours or more on social for the former; one or two hours daily for the latter — bought in this category within the last 12 months. Forty-one percent of light social users — those who refer to social media less than one hour per day — purchased clothing and accessories online. And they did so on mobile.
Desktops aren’t obsolete quite yet. Adults continue to visit social media platforms on their PCs — 70.2 million per week in entirety. Compared to mobile social scouring, that’s chump change. Nearly 177 million adults weekly use smartphones to stay updated on all things social, accounting for 73 percent of total adult reach.
As desktop use decreases — down three percent — mobile and tablets are both undergoing an uptick in usage among adults 18 and up, the report said. Power users with access to mobile devices fell, especially within the Millennial set (no surprise there), up seven percent totaling 97 percent of those polled year-on-year. Though adult women still have an edge on smartphone access — 88 percent — adult men are catching up, increasing their access by 12 percent, totaling 86 percent.
Media consumption is thriving among adults of all generations with Millennials leading the charge. According to the report, adults between the ages of 18 and 34 spent 78 percent of weekly social minutes on a smartphone. Desktop use trailed at a meager 12 percent of social minutes — tablets amounted for only 10 percent of social minutes. The smartphone-heavy trend continued across generations — mobile use accounted for 69 percent of social minutes for adults between the ages 35-49 percent, and 63 percent for Baby Boomers.