USA: YouTube used by 81% of adults

A Pew Research Centre report showed that Google’s online video service is consumed by 81% of Americans, edging out Facebook by a considerable margin in the country’s social media stakes.

The study found that YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape. The first one is the most commonly used online platform asked about in this survey and the survey showed evidence that its reach was growing. Fully 81% of Americans say they ever use the video-sharing site, up from 73% in 2019. Reddit was the only other platform polled about that experienced statistically significant growth during this time period, increasing from 11% in 2019 to 18% today.

Even though Facebook’s growth has levelled off over the last five years, it remains one of the most widely used social media sites among adults in the US with 69% of adults today say they ever use the site, equalling the share who said this two years prior. Two-fifths of adults said they use Instagram and about three-in-ten reported using Pinterest or LinkedIn. A quarter said they use Snapchat, and similar shares report being users of Twitter or WhatsApp. The growing TikTok short video service was used by –21% of Americans.

Majorities of 18- to 29-year-olds say they used Instagram or Snapchat and about half said they used TikTok, with those on the younger end of the age cohort, ages 18 to 24, being especially likely to report using Instagram (76%), Snapchat (75%) or TikTok (55%).

These shares stand in stark contrast to those in older age groups. Additionally, a vast majority of adults under the age of 65 said they used YouTube. Fully 95% of those 18 to 29 say they use the platform, along with 91% of those 30 to 49 and 83% of adults 50 to 64. However, this share drops substantially – to 49% – among those 65 and older.

The Pew Research Centre study also found that just over a third (36%) of YouTube users said that they visited the site on several times a day and 18% around once a day.

The analysis was based on telephone interviews conducted from 25 January to 8 February 2021, among a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Beyond the general question of overall social media use, the survey also covers use of individual sites and apps.

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