Social media trends 2021

What you'll learn in this post:
  • How much time people spend on the internet as well as on social media
  • Which platforms are the most popular
  • How many users use streaming and for how long

Last year, we already gave you an update on social media trends and the worldwide use of different platforms. Hootsuite and We Are Social have now published their newest findings, and we have worked our way through the hundreds of pages of reports (Digital 2021 July Global Statshot Report and regional reports from Jan. 21) to put together for you the most important and relevant facts for musicians. Let’s jump right in

5.27 billion people own a cellphone, which represents 67% of the global population (2.3% more than the year before). Of these, 4.8 billion use social media, which is 57% of the global population. That is 520 million more than there were last year, signifying a strong growth of 13.1%. The six English-speaking countries we analyzed are some of the most frequent social media users, which also explains the relatively low growth rate there.

WorldwideUSUKCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIreland
57% (Growth: 13.1%)72,3% (Growth: 4.3%)77,9% (Growth: 4.4%)84,9% (Growth: 8%)79,9% (Growth: 0%)82% (Growth: 2.8%)76,4% (Growth: 3.1%)

On average, users spend almost 7h per day on the internet. Of these, 2.24 minutes are spent on social media (+1.2%), 1h 33 min. by streaming music (+/-0%), and one hour with internet radio (+3.4%). With the exception of the US, the English-speaking countries spend slightly less time on the web than the world average. They also use social media less and have shorter streaming times (although here, too, the US is the exception).

 WorldwideUSUKCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIreland
Internet6h 55 min.7h 11 min.6h 26 min.6h 26 min.6h 13 min.6h 39 min.6h 30 min.
Social Media2h 24 min.2h 07 min.1h 49 min.1h 46 min.1h 46 min.1h 55 min.1h 55 min.
Streaming1h 33 min.1h 35 min.1h 15 min.1h 11 min.1h 22 min.1h 20 min.1h 23 min.
Radio1h 00 min.1h 09 min.1h 12 min.1h 07 min.1h 05 min.1h 10 min.1h 11 min.

A fan-favorite pastime of internet users is videos. A whopping 93.4% watch videos online. A decent 38.6% stream music (23% pay for it, too), 22.8% listen to internet radio, and 18.7% consume podcasts. The English-speaking countries are among the pioneers of streaming and in all of them, more than 59% of internet users stream music. There is also a significantly higher percentage of internet radio and podcast listeners. The Irish, here, have revealed themselves to be absolutely massive audio users.

 WorldwideUSUKCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIreland
Online Radio22.8%39.9%37.3%36%34%34.4%42.4%

On average, people worldwide use 6.6 social media platforms. But these don’t seem to suffice for the users in the six countries we’ve examined. They have between 6.8 (Canada) and 8 profiles (Ireland) per person.

WorldwideUSUKCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIreland

Now, let’s take a look at which social media platforms are used the most.

WorldwideUSUKCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandIreland
WhatsAppInstagramWhatsAppFB MessengerFB MessengerFB MessengerFacebook
InstagramFB MessengerFB MessengerInstagramInstagramInstagramFB Messenger
FB MessengerTwitterInstagramTwitterWhatsAppWhatsAppInstagram
Sina WeiboWhatsAppSkypeRedditSkypeSkypeSkype

Both worldwide and in the English-speaking countries, specifically, YouTube and the products of Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger) continue to dominate. The ranks that follow are filled with various platforms in various orders, which for the English-speaking countries include Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat, although Snapchat is ahead of TikTok across the board.

Comparing Instagram and Facebook, we observe that Instagram is ahead when it comes to female users in the 16-24 and 25-34 age range. Older users prefer Facebook. Looking at male users, Instagram only takes the lead in the 16-24 age range, all others are dominated by Facebook.