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Communicating Through Imagery - US - December 2015

More than 80% of Americans are communicating with others through text, email, or social media. As smartphone and tablet ownership increases, people are more likely to send abbreviated messages and lean on images to indicate tone and provide nuance. Although more than half of US adults have a general awareness of digital images such as selfies, emoticons, and emojis, far fewer are using these images regularly. Younger consumers are more likely to use images in their communications, but there is significant interest across age groups in connecting with brands using emojis and other image types.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Brands may find difficulties in using emoji language
  • Younger consumers shift their attention to niche social platforms
  • For digital images, usage and familiarity are sensitive to age

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • Figure 1: Visual communication behaviors done in the past month, September 2015
        • The issues
          • Brands may find difficulties in using emoji language
            • Figure 2: Emoji fluency, novice users or users with no knowledge of emojis, by key demographics, September 2015
          • Younger consumers shift their attention to niche social platforms
            • For digital images, usage and familiarity are sensitive to age
              • Figure 3: Familiarity with types of images, by age, September 2015
            • The opportunities
              • Consumers open to further use of branded emojis
                • Figure 4: Communicating with companies using emojis, September 2015
              • Both men and women interested in photo sharing
                • Figure 5: Online communication behaviors, by gender, September 2015
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Most Americans use some type of digital image to communicate
                  • Internet usage and social media participation escalate
                    • Increase in mobile methods of communication inspire image sharing
                    • The Image-sharing Market

                      • Vast majority are familiar with – and use – imagery in communication
                        • Figure 6: Visual communication familiarity, September 2015
                        • Figure 7: Visual communication behaviors done in the past month, September 2015
                      • Image sharing on the rise
                        • Figure 8: Attitudes toward posting content, April 2011-June 2015
                    • Market Factors

                      • Time spent online continues to increase
                        • Figure 9: Time spent online at home in the last seven days, April 2004-June 2015
                        • Figure 10: Number of unique websites visited at home in the last seven days, April 2007-June 2015
                      • Social networking an important component of internet usage
                        • Figure 11: Social media usage, by gender, age, and race/Hispanic origin, April 2014-June 2015
                      • Strong growth in smartphone and tablet ownership
                        • Figure 12: Personal ownership of consumer electronics, July 2013* versus April 2015
                      • Multimedia sharing primarily done on mobile devices
                        • Figure 13: Activities conducted online in past three months, PC versus smartphone versus tablet, April 2015
                    • Key Developments – What You Need to Know

                      • Companies use emojis to communicate with consumers
                        • Image heavy sites spur ecommerce activity
                          • Communicating with images can encourage open conversation
                            • Next level emojis
                              • VR becomes a reality
                              • What’s Working?

                                • Companies introduce branded emojis
                                  • Emojis become transactional
                                    • Shopping with images
                                      • Image use encourages difficult conversations
                                        • Brands talk to teens in their language
                                          • Figure 14: “It’s a Trap,” public service announcement, August 2015
                                        • YouTube is Moms’ go-to for how-to
                                          • Images increase conversions for the travel industry
                                          • What’s Struggling?

                                            • Emojis lack diversity and realism
                                              • Brands struggle to make sense of social chatter
                                                • Millennials may be turned-off by brands’ overuse of emojis
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • VR brings images to life
                                                    • The Facebook “dislike” button
                                                      • Personalized emojis
                                                        • Emoji passwords
                                                          • QWERTY keyboards incorporate emojis
                                                            • Delivery services get even faster
                                                            • Image-sharing Platforms – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Facebook reigns
                                                                • YouTube growing branded and original content
                                                                  • Pinterest and Instagram add more options for advertisers
                                                                    • Snapchat rebuffs buyout bids
                                                                    • Image-sharing Platforms

                                                                      • Facebook
                                                                        • YouTube
                                                                          • Pinterest
                                                                            • Tumblr
                                                                              • Instagram
                                                                                • Vine
                                                                                  • Snapchat
                                                                                  • The Image-sharing Consumer

                                                                                    • Overview
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Social media usage, September 2015
                                                                                      • The Facebook user
                                                                                          • Figure 16: Facebook user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Visual communication behaviors of Facebook users, September 2015
                                                                                        • The YouTube user
                                                                                            • Figure 18: YouTube user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Visual communication behaviors of YouTube users, September 2015
                                                                                          • The Instagram user
                                                                                              • Figure 20: Instagram user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                              • Figure 21: Visual communication behaviors of Instagram users, September 2015
                                                                                            • The Pinterest user
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Pinterest user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                                • Figure 23: Visual communication behaviors of Pinterest users, September 2015
                                                                                              • The Snapchat user
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Snapchat user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Visual communication behaviors of Snapchat users, September 2015
                                                                                                • The Tumblr user
                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Tumblr user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Visual communication behaviors of Tumblr users, September 2015
                                                                                                  • The Vine user
                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Vine user demographics, by gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, household income, and parental status, September 2015
                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Visual communication behaviors of Vine users, September 2015
                                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                    • Most Americans use digital forms of communication
                                                                                                      • A majority aware of popular types of digital images
                                                                                                        • Emojis used to indicate tone and save time, but can be ambiguous
                                                                                                          • Interest in branded emojis and emoji passwords
                                                                                                          • Types of Digital Communication Used

                                                                                                              • Text messages and emails are common forms of digital communication
                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Digital communication behaviors, September 2015
                                                                                                              • Women more likely to comment and pin
                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Online communication behaviors, by gender, September 2015
                                                                                                              • Age differences more pronounced for social media usage
                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Online communication behaviors, by age, September 2015
                                                                                                              • Black respondents less likely to use online forms of communication
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Online communication behaviors among 18-44-year-olds, by race, September 2015
                                                                                                            • Familiarity and Usage of Digital Imagery

                                                                                                                • A majority of Americans aware of selfies, emoticons, and memes
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Familiarity with types of images, September 2015
                                                                                                                • Women more familiar with selfies, emoticons, and emojis
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Familiarity with types of images, by gender, September 2015
                                                                                                                • Familiarity with digital images decreases with age
                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Familiarity with types of images, by age, September 2015
                                                                                                                • Familiarity doesn’t equate with usage
                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Familiarity with types of images and usage of digital images, September 2015
                                                                                                                • Young women are key users
                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Usage of digital images, by gender and age, September 2015
                                                                                                                • Blacks 18-44 prefer emojis to emoticons
                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Usage of digital images, among 18-44-year-olds, by race, September 2015
                                                                                                              • Reasons for Communicating with Images

                                                                                                                  • Image use perceived as faster, more fun than using words
                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Reasons for using digital images, September 2015
                                                                                                                    • Woman just want to have fun
                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Reasons for using digital images, by gender, September 2015
                                                                                                                  • Understanding Emojis

                                                                                                                      • Majority have little or no experience with emojis
                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Emoji fluency, advanced or fluent users, by key demographics, September 2015
                                                                                                                        • Emojis take on many meanings
                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Translating emojis, September 2015
                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Translating emojis, September 2015
                                                                                                                          • Emojis used to indicate tone and save time
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Emoji usage, September 2015
                                                                                                                            • 25-34s more likely to use emojis in a professional context
                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Emoji usage, by age, September 2015
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward Emojis

                                                                                                                              • Emojis seen as a good option for passwords
                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Attitudes toward emoji usage as passwords, by age, September 2015
                                                                                                                              • Half believe emoji use can be detrimental to traditional communication
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Attitudes toward the overuse of emojis, all versus 25-34-year-olds, September 2015
                                                                                                                              • Commercial Use of Images

                                                                                                                                  • Potential for transactional use of emojis
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Interest in commercial use of emojis, September 2015
                                                                                                                                  • Emojis more likely to get a brand noticed than liked
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Interest in commercial use of emojis, September 2015
                                                                                                                                  • Companies that use emojis should have emoji-using customers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Communicating with companies using emojis, September 2015
                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                            • Terms
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market

                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Attitudes toward posting content, April 2011-June 2015
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Time spent online at home in the last seven days, April 2004-June 2015
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Number of unique websites visited at home in the last seven days, April 2007-June 2015

                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                            To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                            Communicating Through Imagery - US - December 2015

                                                                                                                                            US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)