Social Media is Overtaking Email.

A major new survey of 50,000 people in 46 countries has found that in many emerging markets around the world, people are spending more time on social networking sites than on email.

The startling result, is just one of many insightful conclusion in the report from British research firm TNS that can be viewed here:

But the survey also showed a distinct difference in behaviour between consumers in China and the United States, with Chinese users spending 5.2 hours on social media services and 4 hours on email per week, while American users were spending 5.1 hours checking email and 3.8 hours on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

There are compelling reasons behind the disparity in Internet usage that are directly linked to social media development, said TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt: “We’ve seen that in mature markets where people have been online for years and where access is ubiquitous, the Internet has already become a commoditised item that consumers take for granted.”

“However, in rapid growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact and online consumers in these markets are leaving those in the developed world behind in terms of being active online and engaging in new forms of communications,” said Froggatt.

The Digital Lifestyles Survey also found that:
– Social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile smartphones, with mobile users spending 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email
– Globally, people with Internet access use it as the primary media channel (61pc) followed by TV (54pc), radio (36pc) and newspapers (32pc)
– Consumers in rapid growth markets are more engaged with digital activity than in mature markets led by Egypt (56pc) and China (54pc) compared with Japan (20p) and Denmark (25pc).
– Blogging and social networking are growing very fast in developing countries. Blogs and forum posts have been written by 88pc of Chinese users compared with just 32pc of users in the U.S.