Australia’s growing obsession with smartphones has driven more people onto social platforms than ever before, according to the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report. In fact, almost eight in 10 Australians (79%) are now on social media, which is up 10 points on last year.
There is a growing divide between the number of businesses and consumers using social media. For consumers however, there is no holding them back. And while usage is almost universal among 18-29 year olds (99%), the big jumps were in the 30-39 age group (up 14 points to 96%) and the 40-49 age group (up 16 points to 86%).
Driving the continued growth in social media use is our love of visual content. This trend has seen a rise in usage on Instagram (up from 31% to 46%) and Snapchat (up from 22% to 40%), with Twitter also seeing an uplift (up from 19% to 32%) after moving to a more visual layout.
While these platforms have seen strong growth – perhaps at the expense of LinkedIn (down from 24% to 18%) – Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape (95%).
Another factor is the increase in smartphone ownership, with 81% now preferring to use their device to access social media, as opposed to a laptop (30%) or desktop (28%). Our social norms are being tested dramatically because of how easy it is to access social media at any time of day from any location.
The 18 to 29 year age group is most likely to access social media first thing in the morning (79%), last thing at night (65%), at work (46%) and even on the toilet (29%) compared to any other age demographic.
Almost three quarters in this age group are now also open to connecting with strangers.
Locations that were once taboo for accessing social media, such as at the gym (9%) and cinema (5%), are on the rise, while 30 to 39 year olds are the most likely to use social media while out to dinner with family and friends (33%).
While the majority of people are on social media to keep in contact with their family and friends (89%), there is also a negative side, with people in regional areas more likely to have witnessed bullying or harassment on social media (23% vs 15%) and twice as likely to have been bullied themselves (9% vs 4%).