In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of just over three hours on social networks. In December 2009, they were spending over five and a half hours on average. An increase of 82%.

According to The Nielsen Company, social network sites have grown in importance globally in 2009. Alongside blogs, they are now the most popular category online when ranked by time spent on site. The survey (which looked at the US, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) shows not only that overall time on site has increased, but also that the global audience for social networking has increased.

Facebook leads the pack in terms of number of users. Of the 307 million social network users in the countries in the survey, 207 million (67%) were users of Facebook. But Twitter leads the pack in terms of growth. This is not surprising given the relatively small base that Twitter was growing from in 2009, but is still striking. In the US alone, the number of users of Twitter grew from 2.7 million to 18.1 million (579%) and time on site grew 368%.

When these figures are broken down by the countries included in the study, the US, perhaps unsurprisingly, has the largest number of social network user (142 million). They are followed by Japan (with 47 million users) and Brazil (with 31 million). The UK comes in fourth place with 29 million users of social networks. However, when you consider time on site, Australia leads the pack. There, the typical social network user spent an average of nearly seven hours on social networking sites in December 2009. The US and the UK come close behind with just over six hours.

Overall this data shows that social networking sites are becoming an ever increasingly important part of users’ web experiences. More users are using and joining such sites, and they are spending longer on them. Users now spend more time on social networking sites than on other categories of sites online. Social networking is now an established part of global consumers’ lifestyles.

Image by Balakov via Flickr

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2010/01/time-spent-on-social-networks-increases-82-in-2009/

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