Social Media Usage in the UK – The Findings


September 6th, 2011

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More than half UK pensioners now on Facebook
37.4 million UK adults use Facebook regularly
32.1 million UK adults use YouTube regularly
15.5 million UK adults on Twitter
7.9 million UK adults on LinkedIn
6.7 million UK adults on Flickr

There has been much talk in the press about how popular various social media platforms really are; how many people use Facebook in the UK? Does Twitter have more active accounts than Flickr? Is anyone over 40 interested in Foursquare? Social Media Usage in UK - infographic low res 2

To remove any lingering doubt as to the popularity and importance of social media platforms, we conducted research with Your Say Pays, where we asked nearly 2,400 UK adults which social media platforms they used and how often.

We then analysed the results to bring what we believe is the most up-to-date snapshot of social media usage in the UK.

If you like statistics, you can view them all here.

Our infographic, created by Vapour, helps visualise statistics; it outlines the gender and age differences in social media usage.

Women, our results revealed, were more likely to have active Facebook accounts but men were more likely to use LinkedIn and location-based platforms such as Foursquare to connect with others.

Age has an effect on social media usage, but our findings revealed that more than half of all pensionable UK adults were on Facebook, with more than a third also using YouTube on a regular basis; proof, if any were needed, that social media is not the preserve of the young. Marketers, take heed!

At Umpf, we value social media and we recognise its importance in the field of PR and communications in general. Read more about our social media campaigns.

We’ll leave you with the press release outlining our findings, but if you have any questions or you’d like to talk to us about how we could help you engage with potential and existing customers over social media contact us at It’s a growing audience and we’ve proved we can help brands increase their business through tailored, intelligent campaigns.

To embed this infographic into your website, simply copy the code below and paste it into your site:

<img src=”” alt=”Infographic showing social media usage in the UK” /><p>Infographic provided by <a href=””>Umpf PR</a></p>

Social Seniors; More than Half UK Pensioners Now on Facebook

* 37.4 million UK adults use Facebook regularly, 15.5 million on Twitter

* More men prefer Linkedin and YouTube than women

* LinkedIn bucks age trends with 20s/30s biggest users

* Northern Ireland lags behind as South East leads in social media usage

More than half (55 per cent) of the UK’s pensionable population use Facebook regularly, research findings revealed today, as the use of social media was now shown to be endemic in the UK.

PR and social media agency Umpf issued findings of its research, conducted amongst nearly 2,400 UK adults, which showed how distinct groups are now emerging in the UK’s social networking landscape.

Three-quarters (77 per cent) of the UK’s 48.6million-strong* adult population confirmed they had an active Facebook profile, equating to an estimated 37.4 million live accounts. Nearly one-third (32 per cent or 15.5 million) also claimed to use Twitter regularly.

Location based platforms, such as Foursquare, were used by 15 per cent of UK adults, equating to 7.2 million people, with a similar number also making use of photo-sharing platform Flickr (6.7 million) and professional network LinkedIn (7.9 million).

Men and women were found to favour different platforms, with nearly twice as many men than women having an active LinkedIn account; 22 per cent as opposed to 13 per cent. What’s more, of those with a profile, 28 per cent of men checked theirs at least once a day, compared with just 14 per cent of women.

Facebook, clearly emerging as the UK’s most popular social networking site, with 77 per cent of all UK residents having an active profile, was used by 80 per cent of women, but a significantly lower 72 per cent of men.

Divides emerged based on age as well, with nearly all (95 per cent) of 18 – 25s having an active Facebook profile, with this figure dropping significantly to 55 per cent of over 65s. LinkedIn bucked the trend of social media platforms being most popular amongst the 18 – 24 year old age bracket, however.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of all 25 – 34-year-olds have an active Linked in profile, but just 14 per cent of under 24s, demonstrating the platform’s success in attracting more mature users keen to further their careers and connect on a professional level.

Whilst social media usage was distinctly lower amongst those of pensionable age, more than half actively used Facebook and more than two-thirds were regularly using and viewing YouTube.

The survey, which was conducted by polling agency Your Say Pays amongst 2,387 UK adults in July, asked how frequently respondents used a selection of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube and location based platforms such as Foursquare.

Geographically, the South West counted the highest percentages of residents using Facebook and Twitter across the UK, with those living in Northern Ireland having the lowest average usage of social media platforms. Just six per cent of those living in the region had an active Linkedin profile, contrasting with one in five of those in the South East.

However, Northern Ireland saw the highest percentages of those using YouTube, with three quarters of all those surveyed stating that they frequently used the video sharing site, as opposed to just 59 per cent of those in the South West. On average, the South East boasted the highest numbers of people using social media platforms.

Jon Priestley, of PR and Social Media agency Umpf, said: “Our research clearly shows how endemic social media use is in the UK, with clear adoption of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter amongst all age groups. With more than half of all over 65s using Facebook regularly, social media is clearly no longer the preserve of the tech-savvy under 30s.

“The social media landscape is changing rapidly and gender divides are starting to become apparent, with men clearly favouring YouTube and LinkedIn, but women opting to use Facebook as their chosen medium of communication.

“Our research clearly shows how geography is playing a key role in social media adoption, with distinct geographical areas beginning to favour different social media platforms to communicate with their networks.”

For more information and for full survey results, please visit

*Statistic for UK adult (over 18 years old) population – 48,646,000 (source – ONS, 10.08.11)


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17 Responses

  1. Chris Smith says:

    Great research info, transparency & infographic -IMHO suggest you credit yourselves on infographic to maximise promotion!

  2. Thanks for the comments, Chris. Yes, we umm-ed and ahh-ed about branding it, but in the end thought it might be used more frequently elsewhere without the branding.

  3. Mike says:

    Morning Guys,

    Great piece of research – opening a whole world of possibilities. One question and excuse my ignorance, how does the algorithm or equation work that equates a few thousand people being surveyed to getting a statistic for the nation? Just curious??

  4. Hi Mike,
    Our budget didn’t stretch to surveying the nation (well, not this year at least) :-) so we took a 2,400-person representative sample and extrapolated the figures. So, caution needed on treating as fact, but as an example, we reckon there’s 37.4m UK adults using Facebook regularly; back in March Facebook Europe’s VP said they’d reached 30 million in the UK. So, extrapolated, yes, but we don’t think it’s too far off.

  5. Seb says:

    Interesting resutls – could you tell us how the survey was carried out? If it was done electronically (e.g. on-line or by email) did you allow for the likelihood that those completing the survey were much more likely to be users of social media than the population as a whole?

  6. Jon Priestley says:

    Hi Seb

    Thanks for your question – the survey was carried out online but respondents were recruited by use of an email sent out to the general sample. Good point to raise about the likelihood of the respondents being more likely to be users of social media, but the prevelance of email in the UK and widespread access to the internet is such that we don’t think this would have skewed the results particularly.

  7. Jan says:

    Great to see some UK stats! Like Chris Smith commented above – some credits on the infographic would be good. It took a while to track down a shared image to the source post, even with a link back to your site. Thanks for providing additional info and data along with the graphic, it answers my other questions – when and how was the data collected?

  8. Craig Gilman says:

    I am interested to see how these stats can be related to what faith these people are. i.e % of people who call themselves, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, etc…

  9. Jo Shaer says:

    Hey Guys
    Is there going to be a more up to date version of these to incorporate G+ and Pinterest use in the UK?

  10. Euonym says:

    I’m trying to embed this into my site and it’s not showing up. I’ve cut the code and pasted it into the html window of my wordpress site – am I forgetting something?

    • Hi Euonym – please let me know your email address and I’ll send it on to you direct so you can embed from your own computer – this will probably make it easier.



  11. Pete says:

    55% of pensioners are on Facebook? Give me a break! Take the survey in a shopping mail and get some real results.

  12. Jim says:

    You cant survey 2400 people on social media and extrapulate to 65m people in the UK. Just imagine the error rate if it was just 5% error and you then times that error by a factor of 27,000. 1 in 2 pensioners use facebook? 1 in 6 use twitter? How many pensioners did you survey? You figures will not stand up to much scrutiny although the method of presentation is superb I confess.

    Where are the other stats? How many dormant accounts? How many minimal users? How many never click a banner ad? Ave use rate.

    I saw your info used at an event last week (real life) by Professor Gustavo and instantly heard alarm bells.

  13. Lea says:

    Very interesting. Does anyone have stats on the use of Skype in the UK broken down by age and gender please?

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