Social networks going global

22 December 2010

NEW YORK: Social networking penetration remains highest in markets like the US and UK, but sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also proving popular in nations from Brazil to Poland.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 24,790 people living in 22 countries to gauge current behaviour in this area.

It found 46% of the potential US audience belong to at least one social network, while 36% have opted against joining these properties and 18% do not regularly surf the internet or send email.

In Poland, 43% of interviewees commonly accessed social media, 15% directed their online attention elsewhere, and 41% did not have a web connection.

Totals stood at 43%, 41% and 16% in turn for the UK, the leading European representative.

In South Korea, one of Asia's most mature digital markets, 40% of the possible user base had signed up to date, with Cyworld the pre-eminent social offering at present.

France somewhat bucked the wider trend, as 36% of netizens frequently logged on to platforms like MySpace and LinkedIn, measured against 42% yet to adopt parallel habits.

Uptake hit 34% in Spain, where 36% of the panel were uninterested in this emerging channel.

This gap peaked in Japan, given 44% of consumers avoided social networks, an amount 20% larger than those using sites including Mixi.

Germany saw an 18% difference between these figures, as 49% of the local sample were non-users of the available services.

Around half of connected Chinese consumers, 23% of the potential total overall, have registered on Kaixin001 or an equivalent, and 22% had failed to do so thus far.

Three times the number of Indians used social networks than ignored them, but as figures came in at 12% and 4% respectively, there is clearly considerable room for further growth.

More than 80% of 18-29 year olds participate in social networking in Germany, the UK, Poland and South Korea, as do approximately three-quarters of their peers from the US, France and Spain.

Two-thirds of young Russians, and an equal proportion of their Japanese counterparts, also engage in this pastime.

A majority of 30-49 years olds in the US, UK and Poland had followed suit, as was the case regarding a third of the same segment in Germany, Russia and South Korea.

Americans over 50 years of age were most likely to have joined these services, on 23%, beating Britain's 16% and France's 13%.

In terms of the difference between the oldest and youngest members, Germany posted 78 years, South Korea yielded 75 years and Poland recorded 70 years.

This gap reached just 17 years in India and 14 years in Indonesia, and a modest 29 years concerning Egypt.

The US constituted the only country where women displayed greater enthusiasm than men, as 52% of American females are active social networkers, compared with 41% of males.

Data sourced from Marketing Charts; additional content by Warc staff