How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media in 2021?

Social media is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. It is always there, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep with our phone in hand.

But how much time do people spend on social media?

And which apps get the most attention?

Let’s find out!

The answer to the latter is probably obvious to anyone with an online presence. Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger have become almost synonymous with the term “social media”. 

To put things in perspective, let’s take a look at some of the most impressive stats:

  • An average user spent 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media in 2020.
  • 50.1% of the time spent on mobile was done using social media apps in 2020.
  • Facebook is the most popular, costing people an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes each day.
  • Youtube takes an average of 40 minutes per day.
  • Users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on Snapchat.
  • Instagram users are spending an average of 28 minutes on the platform daily
  • Pinterest users take it slow and scroll through ideas for only 14.2 minutes every day.

Impressive, considering there are 3.196 billion people actively using social networks.

What’s more, the internet user of today spends those 2 hours and 33 minutes socializing online mostly on the six most popular platforms.

According to GlobalWebIndex, Philippines residents lead the way with 3 hours and 57 minutes a day on social media channels. The second place goes to Brazilians with 3 hours and 39 minutes. Last are the Japanese with only 48 minutes of social media time.

Between April and September, 83% of all internet users were engaged with social media. And only 24% of those find it has a positive effect on their work.

Such a vast topic is perfect for a TechJury piece, so I dug out some details to tie each social media site or app with accurate daily numbers. 

But first, let’s kick it off with some statistics about time spent on social media in 2021.

How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media 2021?

So, just how much time are users spending on social media in 2021?

We have put together some of the most amazing and up-to-date time spent on social media stats. Read on!

1. The average internet user spent 2 hours, 24 minutes daily on social media in 2020.

(Source: We Are Social)

This is a slight difference from the average social media time recorded in 2019 2 hours, 22 minutes. However, compared to what we had in 2012 (1 hour), people are spending even more time in the social media world.

2. Facebook users spent 38 minutes per day on the platform in 2020.

(Source: Social Media Today)

People are spending less and less time on Facebook. Statistics on the average time spent on social media in 2020 show that the younger generation has turned their focus to other social media. Apps like TikTok and Instagram will become GenZ’s favorites in the years to come. On top of that, Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017.

In 2017, the average Facebook time was 41 minutes. Fast-forward to 2018 and that number had declined to 38 minutes, only to rise again to 58 minutes in 2019

3. 50.1% of the time spent on mobile is done using social media apps.

(Source: We Are Social)

The world’s population is 7.75 billion, of which 5.19 billion are mobile phone users. In 2020, the global active internet users were 4.57 billion, with 4.2 billion of them being unique mobile internet users. In all, mobile has become a crucial part of how we live daily. Time spent on social media statistics for 2021 reveal that we are spending an average of 3 hours 40 minutes on mobile daily.

4. YouTube users spend an average of 11m 24s daily on the platform.

(Source: Hootsuite)

YouTube boasts of 2 billion monthly active users, and they watch over 5 billion videos daily – that is about 1 billion hours of video every day. It is the second largest search engine and is only second to Google as the most visited website globally. The majority of YouTube visits come from mobile (70%), and its largest market is in the US (14.8%), followed by India (8.1%). According to statistics on how much time Americans spend on social media in 2020, the average American adult spends 24 minutes daily just on YouTube. 

5. TikTok users spend an average of 45 minutes daily using the app.

(Source: Fast Company)

TikTok has been one of the most outstanding breakthrough inventions in recent years. Since its launch in 2017, Data Reportal reports that the platform has garnered 800 million active users and accumulated over 1.5 billion downloads in the process. It is ranked as the seventh most downloaded app in the last decade. TikTok’s primary market is the Gen Zers, but its user base spread across all age groups. Time spent on social media stats reveal that in 2018, users were spending an average of 52 minutes on TikTok daily, but there has been a slight decline in that figure in 2021.

6. An average user opens the WhatsApp app 23-25 times daily.

(Source: Connective)

WhatsApp tied with YouTube as the second most popular social media app after Facebook in 2020. You can find WhatsApp on almost all smartphones worldwide. Currently, 65 billion messages are sent daily on the WhatsApp platform, which is a significant increase from the 43 billion daily messages recorded in 2017.

7. Users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on Snapchat.

(Source: Snapchat)

Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app. It currently has a user base of over 265 million daily active users and is one of the most preferred social platforms for younger generations. Its most significant market is in America, where the app has over 46 million monthly active users and is the most preferred app for 53% of internet users aged 15 to 25 years.

8. Instagram users are spending an average of 28 minutes on the platform daily.

(Source: Hootsuite)

72% of American teens are actively using Instagram. The app’s most extensive user base is in America – 121 million users. On a global scale, Instagram has more than a billion users.

Impressive stats, right?

Now we’ll dive deeper into each of the platforms.

9. Instagram has the 4th most users of any mobile app. 

(Source: HootSuite)

This makes sense, as Instagram is primarily a mobile platform.

According to time spent on social media stats, Facebook ranks first, WhatsApp second, and Facebook Messenger third.

10. 90% of the U.S. population is familiar with Twitter. 

(Source: HootSuite)

The average person in the US knows about Twitter, even if they don’t personally use it. 

In comparison, 95% said they are aware of Facebook, and 91% know Instagram.

Time Spent on Facebook

As of January 2021, 4.2 billion people use social media, and 2.80 billion of them are active Facebook users.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform and is mainly used for networking. However, media watching has always been a part of the social networking site – be it uploading a photo or streaming a video, we still spend a lot of time on the site.

A 2021 research shows that US citizens (aged 18+) spend 33 minutes per day on Facebook. It usually consists of one longer visit and lots of shorter ones.

In comparison, as of 2018, the average time spent on the mobile Facebook app was around 58 minutes a day.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, as 98.3% of all Facebook visitors access it through mobile devices. The network is a big part of why the daily average time spent on a phone gets higher every year. Scrolling through your newsfeed has become possible virtually anywhere. There are even 10 million active accounts on feature phones.

In comparison, only 1.7% of users check Facebook from a laptop or a PC exclusively.

Android and iOS users can check how much time they spend on the network with the “Your Time on Facebook” app. You can find it under the Settings and Privacy tab.

It can also tell you if you spend more time than your peers there. It is there to remind you there’s life beyond Facebook.

Time Spent on YouTube

YouTube maintains a solid second place in the “most used social media” category.

79% of all internet users own a YouTube account (Facebook sitting at 85%). However, the video and streaming platform has the most active users – 86% of all people on the web visit it actively.

The majority of them point out entertainment as their main reason to visit the site.

In other news, Futuresource Consulting showed some interesting points regarding UK users aged 3-16. According to them, over 10% of them watch more than three hours of YouTube videos daily.

In addition, Digital Marketing research from 2020 shows the average person spends 11 minutes and 24 seconds a day on YouTube.

This is a significant fall from 38 minutes a day in 2017.

We can only hope for better results in the years to come.

Additionally, statistics also show users prefer to watch YouTube videos on their smartphone or tablet – those account for 70% of all YouTube views. To back that claim, YouTube stated their 1.8 billion users spend an average of one hour a day watching videos on their mobile devices in 2018.

In August 2018, the video giant allowed users to track how much time they spend on the platform each day. Anyone can check it for themselves.

Messenger – Time Spent on Social Media Statistics

58% of people in North America use social media to stay connected to their friends and close ones, according to a GlobalWebIndex graph.

It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, to see Messenger and WhatsApp having such a high usage rate. The former hosts the accounts of 72% of all internet users, while the latter has this figure at 66%.

There is an obvious explanation for why that is. Humans are social creatures and, as such, we need connection. With the rise of the smartphone (and the tablet), reaching out to another human being is 1-2 taps away. These apps’ business model is based on an innate human desire, which is why it works so well.

Therefore, we can reasonably expect the average time spent on social media to rise further.

New information that supports this claim continues to surface – a SimilarWeb article from 2016  says Americans were spending an average of 48.5 minutes a day on Kakao, while their Messenger usage is registered at 9.36 minutes per day.

Regardless, things are looking up for Facebook Messenger as well. An eMarketer article suggests an 11.8 million US user growth for the app in the next four years. This would mean a staggering 138.1 million users will access the app in the US alone by 2022.

Naturally, users access Messenger mainly on mobile, with a small percentage using only the desktop app. Some even use it from their Apple Watch.

How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media With WhatsApp?

While Messenger used to have more users than WhatsApp, that has changed in recent years. WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly active users across the globe!

ExpandedRamblings estimates 2 billion minutes worth of calls is conducted daily in WhatsApp. No surprise there, considering it is the top messaging app in 180 countries.

In 2016, United States users spent an average social media time of 28.4 minutes a day on WhatsApp. The total user base back then was 18.8 million. As of 2020, there were about 74 million users in the US alone and this figure is projected to grow to 85.8 million users in 2023.

If you’ve ever asked yourself “how much time do we spend on social media”, well – the figures are astounding. They don’t show any sign of slowing down either – social media usage (and WhatsApp’s in particular) will only grow in the future.

Granted – Kik, WeChat, and Kakao boast better engagement in terms of minutes in the US, yet WhatsApp already seems like the inevitable leader among the messaging services.

Current user engagement is not the best metric that can predict how the service will grow in the future. It’s relatively easier to optimize user experience compared to attracting said users in the first place. Arguably then, the number of people using an app is a better litmus test. With WhatsApp being the undisputed champion in this category, chances are it will continue to grow with impressive steps.

Instagram – Average Time Spend on Social Media per Day

In 2018, Instagram surpassed 1 billion users worldwide. Today, that number sits at 1.22 billion.

More than that, 11.01% of the people that actively use the internet have a registered Instagram account. 

However, Instagram stats from May 2020 shed light on the astonishing app progress. Average time spent on social media stats shows that the average adult Instagram users spent 30 minutes per day on the platform.

When it comes to time spent on the internet, statistics paint a vivid picture, don’t they?

You can compare this to In January 2019 stats that showed that the daily usage on Instagram averaged at 15 minutes, according to SocialPilot. Keep in mind this was an average for all users, not just the active ones.

Instagram is mainly used for entertainment, but it already has solid messaging features. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will try to go after WhatsApp’s market. Still, it’s one more reason for users to spend more time on the platform. I’m sure that’s what their CEO thinks as well.

How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media – Twitter

3% of teens in the US name Twitter as their most-used social network. As of January 2021, there are 187 million monetizable daily active users on the platform. This impressive figure consists of 68.5% male users and 31.5% female users. In addition, time spent on social media by age statistics shows that the largest demographic are those aged between 24 and 35s.

A recent survey shares that Twitter users only set aside 3:39 minutes per session. Most visits are done via mobile (80%), while solely desktop usage is about 20%.

In addition, three-quarters of Twitter visitors claim to use the platform to check the news. In a sense, we can say this social media focuses on adult users as a main demographic.

Conclusion

Social media platforms offer an ever-wider variety of things to do.

Be it to check on your friends, fill up free time, stalk your ex, become famous, or find the right outfit for a return to the real world.

Social media has a powerful influence on our daily activities as well. It can affect what we buy, what we like and dislike, and which places we choose to visit. This simple networking concept is arguably just a front for a robust marketing machine running in the background.

How much time do people spend on social media?” then becomes important in terms of revenue as well.

Brands are aware that social media can make or break their business, and they are using it any way they can.

With this much money to make, these apps will keep growing – that much is certain. It only remains to be seen how we’ll choose to use them. Misuse the power, and you’ll wreak havoc in a world that already has way too much of it. Use them right, and you’ll find yourself with a powerful tool to uplift and inspire.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've been fascinated by technology my whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. So writing for Techjury is like a dream come true, combining both my passions - writing and technology. In my free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to both my sons,) I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this great in depth article. I love the fact that you brought in statistics from a few years back and then relate back to 2021.
    From all the Social Media that you mention in your article, I do not see anything related to LinkedIn statistics. Maybe you can do an article on LinkedIn? Just a suggestion.
    Keep up your great articles.
    Greetings from a beautiful, cold and rainy Cape Town, South Africa.

    1. Hi Karel,

      We have in-depth research on LinkedIn as well!
      You can find it here – https://techjury.net/blog/linkedin-statistics/

      Thank you for the kind words.

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