The data may not be particularly surprising, but it sure is impressive: fully 91% of online U.S. adults access social media in a typical month, according to a new study by Experian Simmons. That's 129 million people, or 41.37% of the total U.S. population of 311.8 million; the figure doesn't include millions of people under the age of 18 who use social media. As one might expect, among adults ages 18-24, the proportion using social media in a given month is 98% (which has me wondering about the elusive 2%).
It's not news that young adults are fairly enthralled by social media. The really interesting trend is the rapid increase in usage among older adults: 82% of online adults ages 55-64 use social media in a typical month, according to Experian Simmons, and roughly three quarters of online adults ages 65+.
So what are Americans using social media for? 46% of all online adults say they use social media to communicate with their friends, up from 32% in 2009. Among online adults who have a brother or sister, 27% say they use social media to stay in touch with their siblings, up from 15% in 2009. Online adults also use it to stay in touch with their children: here the proportion increased from 6% of online adults with children in 2009 to 18% today. 14% of adult children say they use social media to communicate with their parents, up from 5% in 2009.
The Experian Simmons data also included some interesting findings on ethnic groups using social media, with possible implications for marketing and advertising. For example, 30% of Hispanic consumers who use social media say they follow their favorite brands and companies on social media sites, compared to 18% of non-Hispanic social media users. Meanwhile 19% of Hispanic adults who use social media say they're more likely to buy products advertised there, compared with 8% of non-Hispanic social media users.