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Which social networks have the highest usage among Gen Z and millennials?

A study looked at social media usage among Generation Z and millennials, and how this usage has changed in 2021. The results of the two rankings might not be what you expect

Published: Dec 24, 2021 04:24:29 PM IST
Updated: Dec 24, 2021 04:35:49 PM IST

Which social networks have the highest usage among Gen Z and millennials?TikTok usage has increased year over year among Gen Zers and Millennials.
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TikTok, Instagram or YouTube? Which social network is currently the most-used by young Americans? A study looked at social media usage among Generation Z and Millennials, and how this usage has changed in 2021. The results of the two rankings might not be what you expect...

Against all odds, YouTube leads the way among Gen Zers in the United States. In a study conducted by YPulse*, Gen Z usage of the video platform stood at 77%, more than for any other social network. Despite taking first place, Gen Z YouTube usage is down slightly from its 2020 figure of 79%. Moreover, Generation Z remained addicted to Instagram in 2021, with a usage rate of 67%, up from 62% in 2020. TikTok is the only social network to show significant growth, with 64% of young Americans using the Chinese platform, compared to 45% in 2020.

The study suggests that YouTube's popularity among Generation Z in the United States could be down to its practical, useful nature. While young Americans report spending an average of four hours a day on social media, by their own estimations, they are not only using YouTube for entertainment, but also to learn new things. The relative age of social networks like YouTube and Instagram and their influence among brands may also explain their positions in this ranking. Despite this, TikTok's growth remains much stronger, and even leads the Chinese giant to outstrip Snapchat.

This strong growth in usage is also seen in Generation Y—the Millennials. However, while TikTok shows healthy progression, the Chinese social network only comes seventh in this particular usage ranking, with 42% in 2021 compared to 30% in 2020. Facebook remains top of the list for Millennials, with usage at 75% in 2021 versus 76% in 2020 for Mark Zuckerberg's platform. It is followed by YouTube and Instagram, with little change year over year.

Social media usage among Generation Z and Millennials in October 2021 compared to October 2020


Generation Z (% October 2021/October 2020)


1. YouTube: 77% in 2021 / 79% in 2020

2. Instagram: 67% in 2021 / 62% in 2020

3. TikTok: 64% in 2021 / 45% in 2020

4. Snapchat: 60% in 2021 / 56% in 2020

5. Facebook: 42% in 2021 / 36% in 2020

6. Discord: 34% in 2021 / 33% in 2020

7. Twitter: 32% in 2021 / 33% in 2020

8. Facebook Messenger: 31% in 2021 / 23% in 2020

9. Pinterest: 29% in 2021/ 29% in 2020

10. Fortnite: 25% in 2021 / 13% in 2020

11. Reddit: 18% in 2021 / 18% in 2020

12. WhatsApp: 17% in 2021 / 11% in 2020


Millennials (% October 2021/October 2020)


1. Facebook: 75% in 2021 / 76% in 2020

2. YouTube: 72% in 2021 / 71% in 2020

3. Instagram: 58% in 2021 / 59% in 2020

4. Facebook Messenger: 62% in 2021 / 59% en 2020

5. Snapchat : 41% en 2021 / 42% in 2020

6. Twitter: 29% in 2021 / 36% in 2020

7. TikTok: 42% in 2021 / 30% in 2020

8. Pinterest: 23% in 2021 / 28% in 2020

9. WhatsApp: 16% in 2021 / 25% in 2020

10. Reddit: 16% in 2021 / 18% in 2020

11. Discord: 15% in 2021 / 17% in 2020

12. Fortnite: 10% in 2021 / 7% in 2020


*According to a survey of 1,450 13-39 year olds in the US and Canada, in October 2021.

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