How much Europeans use social networks?

In the EU, 63% of internet users aged between 16-74 used social networks in 2016. Among the Member States, this share was highest in Hungary (83%), Malta (82%) and Belgium (80%).

Among younger people aged 16 to 24 years, almost 9 in 10 internet users in the EU participated in social networks (88%).

This share ranged from 77% in France and 80% in Slovenia to 97% in Belgium, Denmark and Hungary.

Making a closer look at what internet users in the EU do when they are online shows that the most common activities in 2016 were sending and receiving e-mails (86 % of people who had used the internet during the last 3 months), finding information (80 %), reading online news (70 %) and participating in social networks(63 %).

Over the last five years, a range of online activities gained in popularity: the share of internet users making phone or video calls via the internet increased by 10 percentage points, from 29 % in 2011 to 39 % in 2016, as did the share of those using social networks, from 53 % to 63 %.

Online behaviour of internet users differs between EU Member States: in 2016, making online telephone and video calls was most popular among internet users in Bulgaria (80 %), while participating in social networks was most common in Hungary (83 %) and Malta (82 %).

Finland (92 %) as well as Denmark and the Netherlands (both 91 %) had the highest shares of internet users who used internet banking and Lithuania (93 %) and Croatia (91 %) of those who read news online.


READ MORE: How are EU businesses using internet and social media?

This share was below 50% in almost all EU Member States, except for Belgium (56%), Hungary (55%), Malta (51%) and Portugal (50%).

88 % of younger EU internet users participate in social networks

Age is an important factor determining differences in the use of the internet. Among younger users aged 16 to 24 years in the EU some of the most popular online activities in 2016 included participating in social networks (88 %), watching videos from commercial or sharing services such as YouTube or Netflix (83 %) and listening to music (80 %). On the other hand, for older users aged 65 to 74 years, reading the news (64 %) and seeking health information (59 %) were among the most popular online activities.

In 2016, the share of younger internet users who were active on social networks ranged from 77 % in France and 80 % in Slovenia to 97 % in Belgium, Denmark and Hungary, while among older internet users this share was below 50 % in almost all EU Member States, except for Belgium (56 %), Hungary (55 %), Malta (51 %) and Portugal (50 %).

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