Consumer Insights

Gen Xers Heaviest Social Media Users

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The numbers have it. Move over, millennials, because Gen Xers are the real social media addicts in town.

A recent survey from the folks over at global information, data and measurement company Nielsen took a look the current state of the social media landscape.

As it turns out, Generation X, those aged between 35 and 49, spend the most time on social media of any age demographic — 6 hours and 58 minutes per week, on average. Millennials, the group typically censured for its overuse of social media, came in second overall, spending an average of 6 hours and 19 minutes per week on social sites.

Less surprising is that baby boomers and above spend significantly less time on social media than their younger counterparts. Nielsen found that adults 50 and over spend an average of 4 hours and 9 minutes a week on social media networks.

Nielsen found that the most active social media users, those who spend more than 3 hours each day on social media sites, are female Gen Xers, and some 25 percent of all online time is spent on social (versus 19 percent for men). These numbers are similar across cultures.

For brands looking to market on social media, the Nielsen study found that 39 percent of heavy users cite finding out about products and services as an important reason for using social media, and 35 percent of heavy social media users cite special discounts as important, such as access to exclusive offers and coupons. Nielsen also found that 61 percent of users who interact with television content on Facebook are female.

In terms of device penetration, PCs dropped 3 percent year over year across all demographics, while tablets rose 12 percent and smartphones 9 percent. Across all age demographics, smartphones took the majority time share for social access and tablets the least.

Facebook was the most accessed site on both PC and smartphone. Instagram took the number two spot for smartphones and Twitter in second on PCs.

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