US Social Media Usage 2021

Facebook Is Stalling, TikTok Is Challenging Instagram, and Other Key Trends From Our Forecasts

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About This Report
Social media usage gains from 2020 have largely ended. Facebook will have its lowest growth rate ever, Instagram’s user base is getting older, and Twitter is coming down with a case of post-election malaise. However, TikTok and Reddit are still attracting users at an accelerated pace.
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Executive Summary

After last year’s unexpected social media usage increases, 2021 is settling into a more typical pattern for most properties. But there are still a few surprises in our updated forecasts for social network users and time spent with social media.

Has the pandemic’s effect on social media usage worn off?

Yes and no. This year, monthly US social network users will grow at less than half the pace of 2020, when stay-at-home orders and other pandemic-related factors caused more people to turn to social media. But the amount of time adult social network users spend on the platforms—which grew by 13 minutes in 2020—will remain higher than before the pandemic, at 1 hour and 35 minutes per day.

How are the demographics of social networks changing?

This year, and for the first time, there will be more social network users ages 65 and older than those ages 55 to 64. By 2023, users ages 65 and up will also outnumber users ages 18 to 24.

Which social networks will grow the fastest in 2021?

Among the eight social networks discussed in this report, TikTok and Reddit will grow the most, both on a percentage basis as well as in total numbers. The number of US TikTok users will rise 18.3% to reach 78.7 million users, while the number of Reddit logged-in users will be up 14.4% to 43.3 million.

Which social networks are growing the least in 2021?

Twitter’s momentum from 2020 will end, growing its users by just 0.2% this year. Facebook will experience its slowest growth ever in 2021 at just 0.8%.

In what ways is TikTok challenging the other social platforms?

Adult users of TikTok now spend more time on TikTok than adult Facebook users spend on Facebook, according to our forecast. TikTok also will have more Gen Z users than Instagram this year and, in 2023, more US users than Snapchat.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides updates to our US usage forecasts for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit, and includes highlights from our new forecast for time spent with social networks.

KEY STAT: All social platforms grew more than expected in 2020, because of the pandemic and other factors. TikTok and Reddit will be the strongest gainers in 2021, according to our forecast.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. No. 1: Social Network User Growth Will Fall Back to Pre-Pandemic Patterns
  3. No. 2: Time Spent on Social Networks Will Remain Elevated
  4. No. 3: In 2021, Facebook Will Experience Its Slowest Growth Ever
  5. No. 4: TikTok Will Make Serious Inroads Against Facebook and Instagram
  1. No. 5: After a 2020 Rebound, Twitter Will Experience a Case of Post-Election Malaise
  2. No. 6: Snapchat Is Showing Some Staying Power (but Probably Needs More)
  3. No. 7: Reddit Is Turning on Its Growth Engine
  4. No. 8: Pandemic-Driven Pivots Bring New Growth to LinkedIn and Pinterest
  5. Key Takeaways
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

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authors

Debra Aho Williamson

Contributors

Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jeremy Goldman
Principal Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Peter Newman
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Oscar Orozco
Director, Forecasting