Britain's Love Affair With Social Media Deepens

Britain is biggest user of social networks in Western Europe, with Facebook the favorite destination, says study, but Nordics lead the world.

Gary Flood

May 9, 2013

2 Min Read
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The U.K. is the most avid user of social networks among the biggest Western European economies, said e-marketing analysis group eMarketer.

The group says that although growth is plateauing in the "traditionally more advanced digital countries" of the U.S., Canada, Japan and the U.K., one in two Brits -- 52.6% of the populace by 2014 – are social network users. The stats are nearly one in four worldwide. By 2014 the global social network community will hit 2 billion, according to the marketing group.

eMarketer noted that, "In the U.K., in particular, social networking is well established and wildly popular." That translates to 32.1 million Brits using social networks regularly this year, and 36.7 million doing so by 2017. And where are the British doing all their social networking? One word: Facebook.

[ Would you perform tech support for your Facebook Friends? Read Facebook Turns Friends Into IT Support. ]

Facebook "reigns unchallenged" as the leading social network in the U.K., accounting for more than nine out of 10 social network accounts, putting its U.K. success above the penetration rate for Zuckerberg's offering in other parts of the region, said eMarketer. In the U.K., perhaps due to fewer options than Germany has, "social networking is near synonymous with Facebook usage."

The only place in the world with more social network users is the Nordics, where sites like Facebook seem unstoppable. In 2014, 71.8% of the Dutch, 73.0% of Norwegians, 68.25% of Swedes and 63% of Finns will be on Facebook or another social network, said eMarketer.

At the other end of the scale? Only 37.8% of the French and 35% of Italians are expected to have social media profiles within the next year.

The U.K. won't be the king of social media use for long, though, said eMarketer. It's set to lose its position in Western Europe as the numbers in Germany climb past it this year.

The research's conclusions are based on eMarketer's analysis of survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies; the growth trajectory of major social network sites; historical trends; Internet and mobile adoption trends; and what it dubs "country-specific demographic and socio-economic factors."

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