In 2023, social media is still one of the best ways for people to connect. It allows us to stay in touch across continents, time zones, and with friends who live nearby. We're connected today in many ways that previous generations couldn't even dream about.
But with that constant connection comes this question: How much time do people spend on social media each day? Is it too much? Should we embrace our increasingly connected lives or try to limit the amount of screen time? The answer to that question is up to each person to make for themselves, but first, they need to know the numbers.
Read on to see how much time people spend on social media in 2023.
Why Social Media Statistics Matter
Whether you like it or not, social media has taken over our lives, and it doesn't seem that this will change any time soon.
Every day, the number of social media users increases. Every second, 11 people use social media for the first time. In 2017, less than 2.5 billion people were on social media worldwide.
In 2023, 3.96 billion people use social media, which is more than half the world's population. This number is expected to reach 4.41 billion in 2025.
As we consider the role that social media plays in our lives today and in the future, we'll have to decide whether we want to continue to allow this technology to take up as much of our time as it does today or if it's time to pump the breaks on constant mobile usage.
Average Daily Time Spent on Social Media Around the World
On average, people spend 147 minutes, or two hours and twenty-seven minutes, on social media daily. Yet this number is just that - an average.
Studying this helps us better understand how impactful social media is in the lives of people in some societies versus others.
Here's a breakdown of the most recent data we could find on how much average time is spent on social media by continent:
- North America: 2 hours and 6 minutes
- South America: 3 hours and 24 minutes
- Africa: 3 hours and 10 minutes
- Europe: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Asia/Oceania: 2 hours and 16 minutes
Additionally, the time people spend on social media daily has grown since 2012. There's no way to predict the future. Still, we expect that in 2023 and beyond, the global average will likely rise, especially since the number of internet and social media users around the world continues to grow. It may hit a plateau eventually, but not for a few years.
Time Spent on Social Media in a Lifetime
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the average global lifespan is 73.4 years. Suppose we assume that many people will start using social media as young as 10. In that case, that means the average person will spend a total of more than 3.4 million minutes using social media in their lifetime.
In other words, that's about 6 years and 8 months on social media in their lifetime based on the projections for social media use in 2023. Obviously, usage will likely change within the next seven decades, so take that number with a grain of salt. But since the trend over the past few years has been for people to spend more and more time on social media, that means humans are on track to spend a decade or more time on social media in their lifetime.
For comparison, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that people spend more time on social media than on everyday activities.
Not making the most of your time on social media because of a slow connection? Check out plans from different internet service providers.
However, we know a lot about each social media channel today and how many people use it in aggregate and daily.
Here's a snapshot of 8 of the most popular social media channels today. Note that the studies on the daily time spent are the most recent we could find. The data is usually not regularly available.
Daily Time Spent on Facebook
Social media companies don't generally release information about how much time people spend using them daily. However, studies have been done on daily social media use, and Facebook reigns supreme when it comes to time spent within the platform: 33 minutes per day on average.
Facebook is clearly still the top dog of social networks. Despite headlines saying young people are abandoning the 15-year-old platform, the data shows otherwise; in 2023, 53.6 percent of all Facebook users are between 18 and 34.
Facebook still has 2.91 billion active users daily, generating 4 Petabytes of data daily.
Average Daily Time on YouTube
While in something of a downturn, people still spend about 19 minutes a day on average on YouTube. Note that some people will spend hours and hours each day on the site. YouTube has no real competitor in video content, and it is the second biggest search engine behind Google. And while you might not think of it as such, it has everything other social media networks have.
Daily Time Spent on Instagram
Instagram, which Facebook owns, remains one of the biggest social networks. Instagram has 1.47 billion monthly active users, who upload 95 million photos daily. There are 400 million stories posted each day. On average, people spend 29 minutes a day on the platform.
Average Daily Time on WhatsApp
WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, sees 2 billion monthly active users who send 100 billion messages daily on the platform, spending an average of 28 minutes in the app daily. It continues to add new users and will remain popular for communication for years to come. It might be the most popular option for people to communicate internationally (international SMS is expensive).
Daily Time Spent on Twitter
Twitter has 436 million monthly active users who post 500 million tweets daily. Twitter might not have the same base as larger platforms, but it remains extremely influential and a strong traffic driver.
On average, Twitter users spend 31 minutes on the platform daily.
Average Daily Time on Snapchat
Snapchat has 319 million daily active users who create 3 billion snaps daily. The average Snapchat user spends 28 minutes per day in the app. More than 5 Billion Snaps are made daily. About 60 percent of Snapchat's users are between the ages of 18 and 34, and users under 25 spend the most time on Snapchat. It's a network that's popular with the younger set.
Daily Time Spent on LinkedIn
Though it's the oldest social network on this list, LinkedIn's professional image has kept its user base from growing as quickly as some other platforms. Still, it's 200 million monthly active users are nothing to sneeze at. It will have a place online as long as there's no other professional network that takes the world by storm. Users tend to treat it as something to use as needed.
Average Daily Time on Pinterest
On average, Pinterest sees 444 million monthly active users, spending 14.2 minutes on the site daily. Interestingly, the network is a powerful driver for traffic to content on other sites. Also, interestingly, 77.1 percent of Pinterest users are female.
Average Daily Time on TikTok
A relative newcomer to social media but something that seems to have taken over the social media world (or at least the youth), TikTok has grown to have 1 billion monthly active users, with users spending an average of 32 minutes a day on the site. 62 percent of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 29.
Social Media Changes in 2023
As 2023 continues to unfold, the social media landscape will only continue to change. Reports show the way upcoming generations use social media is vastly different, so the way people use social media today may not be a great indication of the way they'll use it in the future.
Hill Holliday's independent consumer and business insights research group, ORIGIN, released a study last year examining how Gen Z (people born after 1994) uses social networks. Based on their findings, the trend of social media use increasing yearly may not continue much further into the future.
ORIGIN's study found that 64 percent of Gen-Zers had taken a break from one or more social networks. 34 percent had completely quit social media.
Most Gen-Zers reported they were stepping back from social media because they felt they wasted too much time using it, but negativity in the content, privacy concerns, and commercialization were also huge factors.
If Gen Z's trends continue in future generations, social media may play less role in people's lives than today. It's odd to think that mega-platforms like Facebook and Instagram may be hitting their peak, but the data shows that could be the case.
The most important takeaway from any set of social media statistics like these is that the social media landscape is changing constantly and rapidly. In 2023, people spend a lot of their time on social media. That will likely still be the case in the next few years. Yet as we become more and more screen saturated, this trend of spending more and more time on social media might slow down and eventually reverse.
However, no matter how you feel about social media, the numbers show it's a huge part of our lives, at least for now.
What was the first social media platform?
Though you can find differing opinions on this, Six Degrees is generally credited with being the first full-blown social media platform. Created in 1997, by 2001 it had acquired 3.5 million users and was bought out for $125 million. Other early social media efforts were MySpace, LinkedIn, and Photobucket.
What happened to MySpace?
At one point (2005), MySpace was the biggest social media platform in the world and sold for $850 million. Thanks to rising competition, inconsistent product/service offerings, heavy spending ($120 million to bring it to market), and ongoing legal battles, the platform flamed out. It hasn’t gone away completely, though, having found a sort of niche second life promoting indie musicians.
How much traffic does Facebook have?
One single mindboggling statistic is that Facebook alone drives 23% of all the internet traffic on any given day.
Is TikTok banned in the United States?
The Biden administration has banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices. Towards the end of February 2023, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a vote on a bill that aims to block the use of the app completely in the US. At issue are alleged security loopholes that would allow the Chinese government to access a user’s personal data.
What percentage of Americans use social media?
Around 70% of Americans use some form of social media on a regular basis.