Age Groups and Social Media Usage Patterns: October 2009

Some of our findings in our latest analysis of Social Media use in New England, Atlantic Canada and Southern England. Our focus was on the 30+ demographics.

Research has shown women spend more time on Facebook than men. Our research into social media use in Atlantic Canada, New England and Southern England has backed this up. We’ve also noticed that different age groups perceive the technologies differently and use them for different purposes. Here’s some of what we’ve found that we can share:

Age 30-40: They’re driving much of what’s happening with social technologies, not the under 30 range. But are more conservative than the under 30 crowd. They’ll use social technologies for work and play, but more so than the 40-55 demographic. This group is also more open to leveraging newer services. PC age range in this group was about 2 years old. This group also adopts newer browsers with the majority using IE7 and FireFox.

Age 40-55: A very engaged segment and they will use social technologies for both work and purely social connection with friends. This age group is still fascinated with connecting to high-school and university contacts their parents couldn’t have enjoyed. The 40-50 crowd were also early adopters of the Web and so their usage behaviours correlate with earlier technologies. This range will use 3 or more social technologies and are 82% more likely to look at a new social media service. PC age in this group was an average of 2.5 years old.

Age 55 – 65: Are primarily motivated by their teen to early 20′s children who are often geographically separated by school or early career work. This age group prefers social technologies that enable picture sharing and family connections. Their secondary reason is personal hobbies, sharing with those of a similar mind. This group is not inclined to investigate new services. They’re more likely to stick with what they started with. They remain somewhat skeptical of technology and shy. This group will use 1-3 social technologies and are somewhat more likely to adopt new software and browsers with 42% using IE6 or 7 and the rest FireFox or Safari. PC age in this group was an average of 3 years old.

Age 65+: While still the smallest segment, this is changing. They’re preference is family connectivity over 90% of the time in the 1,500 people we surveyed. We found that this group tends to only engage in 1-2 social applications such as Facebook and a photo sharing site. They are extremely conservative in adopting new social technologies and consume most digital media through 2-3 sites. We also found this group very reluctant to change software apps they’ve grown comfortable with. In this demographic we found the highest continued use of IE6 (at 76%) and older PC’s (average age of PC being 5 yrs old.)

What we did find interesting was the commonalities across three different countries in each age group. There are some cultural differences, but I’m afraid we had to reserve those for paying clients. As could also be expected, privacy concerns escalated with age.

Methodology: We surveyed 3500 respondents via an online survey and email with a 75% completion rate. This was done over a period of 30 days. We surveyed people in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland then Surrey, Berkshire, Kent and Hampshire in England.