Social Networking - UK - May 2015
“Privacy has become one of central debates surrounding social/media networks as users increasingly question the ways in which their data is being obtained and used. There is a need for the major networks to increase their transparency regarding their use of data, and ensure that opt-out options are clear and accessible. Otherwise networks will be open to regulatory penalties and may see more data-conscious consumers shift towards other options.”
– Rebecca McGrath, Research Analyst
This report looks at the following areas:
- Networks firmly enter the world of e-commerce
- People grow more wary regarding online privacy
- The need to tackle abuse
Social and media networks continue to evolve, with many of the major players broadening the scope of their services, resulting in a blurring of the distinction between the two types of network. Video has become more central to social networks, while many networks have entered the world of direct e-commerce.
This report aims to examine which networks consumers’ use, how frequently they use them and the types of activities they carry out. It also looks at consumer attitudes towards social and media networks, particularly in regards to issues of privacy, advertising and online abuse.
Mintel defines social networks in this report as any networks which have person-to-person interaction at the heart of their offering. The four main networks Mintel includes under this heading in the UK are Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook. These networks are the focus of all analysis in the consumer-focused sections of this report. Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat are not included within social networks.
Between 2014 and 2015 the penetration of the major players in the social and media networks market has remained relatively stable. However, generally media networks have experienced better growth in terms of their reach of UK users than the core social networks. Rather than transitioning from one network to another, many, and in particular younger users, are choosing to broaden the scope and number of the networks they are visiting. Ensuring user engagement therefore remains a high priority for many established networks.
There continues to be a convergence between social and media networks, particularly as video becomes a more central component of social networks. The entrance of many networks into the world of e-commerce will further integrate networks into the lives of consumers, while offering significant possibilities for brands. Concerns over privacy and data continue to surround the market, with the rise of messaging apps, Snapchat and Whisper, indicating a real desire for the ephemeral and anonymous services.
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