Mobile Consumer Behavior

11 June, 2019 | Mobile Communications
Article by Matthias Pätzold

Despite the negativity created by recent privacy scandals, social media usage is still on the rise. Its platforms are witnessing an increase in users and the average amount of time those users spend on them.

The latest report from Ericsson Consumer Lab, “#OMG Social Media is Here to Stay,” aimed to uncover consumers’ attitudes toward social media and how social media usage will continue to evolve. The report is based on an online survey in which 2,600 smartphone users in the United States and the United Kingdom participated.

The respondents were aged between 16 and 65, and their views expressed in the survey are representative of 100 million advanced smartphone users from those markets. In addition to the online survey, face-to-face interviews were conducted in Brazil, Japan, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The study also incorporated data from an existing database of global users.

The key findings of the report include the following:

  • Social media has not yet peaked: Between 2014 and 2018, the average time spent on social media apps increased globally by almost 60%, from 30 min a day in 2014 to 47 min in 2018.
  • Short life span for social brands: Out of the 10 most popular social media platforms of 2008, five no longer exist, and only two remain among the 10 most popular in 2018.
  • Social media may be the new smoking: Social media has gained a negative stigma. As many as 30% of consumers interviewed in the United States and the United Kingdom refuse to say how much time they spend on social media, and almost seven out of 10 think their friends do the same. Additionally, 70% feel that using social media too much is not healthy.
  • Fake news erodes trust: More than 50% of consumers interviewed in the United States and the United Kingdom acknowledged that they have read news on social media that they later found to be fake. Fewer than one in five trust information they read on social media.
  • Consumers want the publisher role back: Almost 70% think social media companies should ensure that there is no fake content on their platform, and more than half believe that social media should be legally liable for fake news. Three out of five say social media companies should hire people to review content, and 40% want AI to do it.
  • Social media is part of the social infrastructure: Although consumers are now sharing less, social media services are too intrinsic to their lives to be abandoned. Roughly one in five believe they will get more of their news from social media in five years.

Full article: IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine, Volume 14, Number 1, March 2019

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