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How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media? 11 Shocking Statistics

Social media is a part of daily life in almost every corner of the world. Over 90% of the population owns a smartphone which is able to give them access to an array of social media platforms. On average, people spend 2.5 hours per day on social media, but there is more to know. In fact researchers zoomed in on the phenomenon in recent years. A Harvard psychiatrist asserts that the harmful impact on mental health includes loneliness, anxiety, fear of missing out, social comparison, and depression.

Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok have millions of users worldwide on a daily basis. Some have even made a career out of exclusively creating social media content and have been dubbed “influencers” due to their large number of followers and the powerful influence their opinions have over them.

Not only have ordinary people flocked to social media in the last few years, big corporations have realized that it is an effective marketing tool and a way to increase their customer base.

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When looking around in restaurants, shops or social gatherings it seems likely that you will see more than one person on their phone. The below statistics are drawn from research and surveys done in order to determine how much time people actually spend on social media. 

11 Shocking Social Media Usage Statistics

1. The average person spends 2.5 hours per day on social media

The global average is two and a half hours per day, but it differs slightly when looking at the statistics per country. The Philippines is the country that spends the most time on social media with almost 4 hours per day on average.

2. Users spend almost 1 hour per day on Facebook

Over the years, Facebook has decreased in popularity and the younger generation have moved more towards video applications such as TikTok and YouTube. Regardless, even with the loss of millions of users since 2017, the average Facebook user still spends around 1 hour per day on the app.

3. Covid has increased social media usage by 80%

The restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a huge increase in the number of time people spend on social media. With no place to go, people turned to their phones and looked for entertainment on social media.

4. 50% of all mobile usage is on social media apps

Half of the time people are on their phones, they are browsing or engaging on social media applications. Research has shown that the average person spends just over 5 hours per day on their phone. This is why social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives.

5. 1 Billion hours of YouTube videos are watched daily

It is no surprise that platforms focussed on video content drastically increased their popularity in the last few years and YouTube is one of them. Almost 50% of YouTube users are active on the app on a monthly basis.

6. The average YouTube usage is 19.5 minutes

YouTube has on average around 2.5 million active users per day. It is the second largest website in the world, apart from Google who takes the first spot.

Interestingly, 70% of YouTube users watch content from a mobile device. The largest number of YouTube users come from India, followed by the U.S. in second place.

7. The fastest growing social media platform is TikTok

Originally the younger generation flocked to TikTok which is a video content only app. Soon it increased in popularity and has recently surpassed 1 billion users. No longer is it a platform for just teens, but the older generation as well as many businesses have discovered the power of TikTok.

8. WhatsApp users open the app on average 25 times per day

WhatsApp when it started was a new messaging app where friends could communicate with one another via chat. The security of WhatsApp meant that many users felt comfortable that their conversations were being kept private.

Today, whatsapp includes video call functionality which is not only used by people socially, but many businesses have adopted the app as a communication tool for their businesses. Roughly 65 billion messages are sent on the app daily with an average of 2 billion hours spent on calls per day.

9. SnapShat users spend 30 minutes per day on the app

There are roughly 350 million daily active users on the multimedia messaging app. It is very popular among younger users with India being the country with the most users at around 144 million.

10. Instagram users spend around 30 minutes per day on the app

Although Instagram usage is 50% lower than what Facebook is experiencing, the app has been increasing in popularity and is quickly closing the gap. User usage has increased by 100% in the last couple of years from only 15 minutes spent on the app daily to now over half an hour. 

This is due to the originally image only driven app, changing it’s tactics and focussing strongly on video content as well.

11. 90% of people in the U.S know what Twitter is

Although the average American might not always use Twitter, they are almost certainly familiar with the social media platform. It is not only Twitter that is so well known as 95% of people know what Facebook is and around 91% of people know about Instagram. These statistics make it clear just how influential social media has become in our society.

What makes Social Media so Popular?

No one can dispute the popularity of social media, but why is it that people are so drawn to these platforms?

  • Meeting new people – Social media has made it possible for people to connect with anyone from all parts of the world in an instant. It is no longer only the wealthy that get to travel the globe and meet interesting people, but anyone with a smartphone can now find friends from different countries and cultures.
  • Join groups with shared interests – Platforms like Facebook have made it possible to create group pages where people with similar interests can share and discuss topics that they are passionate about. This can be anything from fashion to antiques.
  • They are free – Probably most importantly, all of the major social media platforms are free to use. These platforms mainly make their revenue from advertising so users from all walks of life and income brackets are able to join and participate.
  • Job market – People have quickly realized that social media can be a great tool to gain exposure for their businesses or even find new careers. Sites like LinkedIn which primarily serves as a networking site for business individuals is a good example of why people keep flocking to social media platforms.


There is no end in sight when it comes to social media. The different platforms continue to upgrade their functionality to compete with their competitors and the people continue to participate in the services these platforms offer. It is clear that the pandemic has increased the time spent on social media substantially.

As technology evolves, so will social media and we are bound to see an increase in user usage over the next few years. It seems that society just can’t get enough of the entertainment value these platforms offer.

Businesses have realized that social media is a must and many have integrated the platforms into their marketing strategies. With many platforms already providing the functionality of shops on their sites, who knows what the future of social media will look like in the next 10 years.

Sources and References

Hysa, B., Karasek, A. and Zdonek, I., 2021. Social media usage by different generations as a tool for sustainable tourism marketing in society 5.0 idea. Sustainability, 13(3), p.1018.

Tsao, S.F., Chen, H., Tisseverasinghe, T., Yang, Y., Li, L. and Butt, Z.A., 2021. What social media told us in the time of COVID-19: a scoping review. The Lancet Digital Health, 3(3), pp.e175-e194.

Auxier, B. and Anderson, M., 2021. Social meia use in 2021. Pew Research Center, 1, pp.1-4.


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Adriaan Brits

Adriaan Brits is the CEO of He works with clients around the world on digital marketing strategy and PR. When it comes to scaling a business, he is one of the top 10 consultants with the biggest media list globally.

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