UK Social Media Stats

Ben Matthews

By Ben Matthews


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Social media stats for the UK change all the time and differ according to which sources you choose from. But the UK media industry watchdog, Ofcom, publishes a quarterly report on the UK media landscape and is one of the most reliable out there.

Most coverage of the August 2014 report has concentrated on the fact that adults spend more time engaged with the media (eight hours 41 minutes) than time spent sleeping (eight hours 21 minutes).

We watch television and use the internet at the same time, which means 11 hours seven minutes worth of media is consumed in that eight hours 41 minutes of time spent engaged with the media

Ofcom’s The Communications Marker Report (PDF) contains figures the first quarter of 2014 and covers all areas of the UK media. However, below are those stats more relevant for social media and digital technology.

UK Social Media Stats 2014

  • Three-quarters of 16-24 year olds use social networking sites: Almost half of UK adults (47%) claim to access social networking sites, with take-up highest  among those aged 16-24 (75%).
  • Facebook’s digital audience continues to grow: Facebook remains by far the most popular social networking site, with a unique audience of 35.1 million in March 2014. Facebook’s digital audience grew 6.4% over the past 12 months, and has an audience roughly three times larger than Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Social networking sites are used more on laptop and desktop computers: Facebook had the greatest active reach across both laptop/desktop computers and mobile devices. Active reach is highest among laptop and desktop audiences (66%), eight percentage points higher than for mobile phone audiences. LinkedIn and Google+ also had a greater active reach on laptop and desktop computers, with LinkedIn in particular used by only 8% of users on a mobile.The exception is Twitter, which has a higher reach on mobile devices.
  • The use of Facebook on a laptop/desktop computer is declining: The number of visitors to Facebook on a laptop/desktop computer far exceeds that of other social networking sites at 29 million, but this audience has declined by 2.1 million since 2012. Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ have relatively similar audience sizes on laptops and desktop computers at 10.6 million, 8.7 million and 8.4 million respectively
  • Social networking websites are increasingly being accessed on mobile phones: All social networking websites have increased their popularity on mobile handsets. Facebook was the most popular site on a mobile, with a unique audience of 21.1 million in April 2014, while Twitter’s popularity on mobile devices (8.4 million) greatly exceeds that of Google+ (3.1 million), and LinkedIn (2.9 million).
  • Twitter users are most likely to access the service through an app and least likely through a mobile browser: Twitter had the highest proportion of its audience accessing the social networking site through a mobile phone app (76%), and the lowest proportion accessing the site through a mobile browser (54%).
  • An average of 8 hours per month is spent on Facebook on a laptop or desktop computer: UK internet users spent an average of 8.0 hours per month browsing on Facebook on laptop/desktop computers, far greater than the amount of time spent on Twitter (35.3
    minutes) and LinkedIn (31.2 minutes).

An average day for a UK adult aged 16+

  • 0’36” websites or apps
  • 0’25” social media
  • 0’04” online news but not a news site
  • 0’02” photo or video messaging

Popular UK social media sites

  • 40.0 million YouTube
  • 35.1 million Facebook
  • 11.9 million Twitter
  • 11.3 million LinkedIn
  • 8.8 million Google Plus
  • 0.9 million MySpace
  • 0.4 million Friends Reunited

Social media use by adults

  • 2009 – 30 per cent
  • 2010 – 40 per cent
  • 2011 – 46 per cent
  • 2012 – 50 per cent
  • 2013 – 53 per cent
  • 2014 – 54 per cent

General stats

  • There are 83.1 million mobile phones in the UK.
  • 8 hours a month is spent on Facebook
  • 77 per cent of all UK households have broadband.
  • 79 per cent of homes have a PC or a laptop.
  • 61 per cent of all adults own a smartphone.
  • 57 per cent of all adults use their mobile phone to access the internet.
  • 44 per cent of all UK households have a tablet.
  • 60 per cent of adults say that technology confuses them.
  • 49 per cent say technology isn’t making a difference to their lives either way.
  • 24 per cent say technology is harming their lives.
  • 82 per cent of households have an internet connection.


  • 51 minutes a day is social media use.
  • 18 per cent of their time spent with the media is spent on social media.

Adults over 65

  • 50 per cent overall have internet access at home.
  • 66 per cent of adults 65 to 74 have internet access.
  • 19 per cent play games on social media – the highest of any age group.

Young people aged 16-24-years-old

  • 74 per cent use a social network.
  • 4 and a half hours is the time they spend on media activity every day
  • If they use it they’ll spend one-and-a-half hours using social media a day

Young people aged 12-15

  • 36 per cent of their media time is spent on social media – double the rate of adults.

Young people aged 6-15-years-old

  • 60 per cent use a tablet.
  • 75 per cent say they wouldn’t know what to do without technology.
  • 70 per cent say they tell friends and family about new technology.
  • 18 per cent use Snapchat.

Young people aged six-11-years-old

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