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Smartphones Become UK Young Adults' Prime Place for Social

Tablets do not see as much interest for social networking

More than half of UK social users between 18 and 34 years old reported doing the bulk of their social networking on their smartphone, according to a July 2013 survey from media buying firm Kinetic. The PC was still far ahead of tablets in terms of social usage among this age group, at 38% vs. 8%. This reflects both the more limited uptake of tablets among the young adult demographic, as well as the strong propensity for younger adults to socialize while out and about and carrying their phones around.

Social networking was a far more sedentary activity for older users. Three out of five regular social media users between 35 and 54 years old mainly used their PC for social networking. Interestingly, though, they were more likely to use their tablet as their main device for social networking than those in the younger demographic—12% did so, while the remaining 29% used their smartphone. And a minimal 4% of those ages 55 and older left the majority of their social networking to their smartphone, with 86% favoring the PC.

The study found that 70% of online UK adults between 18 and 80 years old used Facebook regularly, compared to 29% who were active on Twitter. By comparison, eMarketer estimates 62.5% of internet users in the country will access Facebook monthly this year. The slight disparity is likely a reflection of eMarketer’s inclusion of children under the age of 12; this age group is less likely to use social networks. eMarketer’s estimate of Twitter users, at 20.8% of web users this year, is likely lower than Kinetic’s estimate for the same reason.

Instagram and Pinterest, social media sites getting lots of attention in the US, were not paid much mind in the UK, according to Kinetic’s study. Only 8% reported regularly using Instagram and a minimal 4% were active on Pinterest. Notably, though, Kinetic reported a smaller sample size when asking about these networks, which could skew results.

Regardless of user penetration levels, however, Instagram was still the most popular out-of-home social network. Nearly three-quarters of Instagram users accessed the site while out, indicative of its role as a mobile photo-sharing site.

Facebook and Twitter were about equally popular outside the home, cited by 59% and 58% of respondents, respectively. LinkedIn was also popular outside the home, accessed while out by more than half of users.


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