Demographics of Messaging App Users
A national survey of 1,520 adults conducted by the PewResearchCenter between March 7-April 4, 2016, finds that Facebook continues to be America’s most popular social networking platform by a substantial margin: Nearly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) now use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%) or LinkedIn (29%). On a total population basis (accounting for Americans who do not use the internet at all), that means that 68% of all U.S. adults are Facebook users, while 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% use LinkedIn and 21% use Twitter.
Social media sites are not the only venue where people can connect with others online. Today smartphone owners (at the time of this survey, 72% of American adults) can choose from a variety of messaging apps that fill many of the same functions. Some of these apps look and function like a traditional chat or messaging service, while others offer unique features – such as the ability to post anonymously, or to have one’s posts expire or delete themselves after they are viewed.
This survey asked about three different types of messaging apps that people might have on their smartphones and found that:
- 29% of smartphone owners use general-purpose messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Kik. Due to a change in how this question was asked, this figure is not directly comparable to a previous measure collected in 2015.
- 24% use messaging apps that automatically delete sent messages, such as Snapchat or Wickr. This represents a 7-point increase from a survey conducted in 2015 (at that point 17% of smartphone owners used these apps).
- 5% use apps that allow people to anonymously chat or post comments, such as YikYak or Whisper. This is the first time Pew Research Center has asked about these types of apps.
In general, messaging apps are especially popular among younger smartphone owners. Some 56% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use auto-delete apps, more than four times the share among those 30-49 (13%) and six times the share among those 50 or older (9%). Similarly, 42% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use more general messaging apps like WhatsApp or Kik, compared with 19% of smartphone owners ages 50 or older. Read the rest at PewResearchCenter.