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Social Networking - UK - November 2009

Despite the increasing range of extra activities that sites like Facebook offer, internet users are still mostly pre-occupied with one another, with research showing 66% visit to keep up with current friends compared with 10% of respondents that visit social networks for music, for example. How can social networks encourage more active participation and drive up advertising revenues as a result?

  • Social networks depend mainly on advertising revenues. However many are looking to broaden into new areas to grow profits, such as e-commerce. Research for this report shows that few respondents would ever consider buying goods and services through a social network, even less for a virtual product. How will social networks overcome the challenges ahead?
  • While Facebook is still the most popular social network according to Mintel research, it is not the fastest-growing – with newer sites Twitter and LinkedIn all making much larger gains in new subscribers over the last 12 months. Are established social networks such as Facebook under threat or will there be room for these various social networks to co-exist?
  • According to Mintel research one in ten respondents use social networks on their mobile phone. But these are also the most valuable to networks, and are among their most enthusiastic users. While low smartphone penetration is an issue, what strategies are social networks, mobile networks and handset manufacturers doing to encourage greater mobile usage?
  • While attention has shifted away from the Facebook versus MySpace debate, the smaller social network continues to innovate around its music credentials, which have remained core to the platform’s values since it originally launched. Will its upcoming new music and videos platform be enough to re-energise the site and turn around its declining user base?
  • According to Mintel research for this report 75% of respondents say that they keep personal information to a minimum. However, attitudes to security vary by gender (females being the most security conscious) and age (young being the least). What strategies are social networks putting in place to ensure the safety of all users, and how effective will these be?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Future Opportunities

          • Is there too little customisation in Facebook?
            • Older people social network, too
              • Social networks designed to improve productivity
              • Market in Brief

                • Continued popularity, but not much change in activity
                  • Facebook is the dominant market player
                    • Attitudes towards social networks may not be set in stone
                    • Internal Market Environment

                      • Key points
                        • Rising PC ownership
                          • Figure 1: Trends in PC ownership, 2002-08
                        • Broadband: the lynchpin for social network success
                          • Figure 2: Trends in broadband connection at home, 2004-09
                        • Ownership of more advanced technology
                          • Figure 3: Technology owned at home, August 2009
                        • Social networking a main activity of UK internet users
                          • Figure 4: Top 20 UK websites by reach, three-month average, July-September 2009
                      • Broader Market Environment

                        • Key points
                          • Social networks benefit from the downturn
                            • Figure 5: Trends in personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, 2004-14
                          • An ageing population could pose challenges
                            • Figure 6: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2004-14
                        • Competitive Context

                          • Key points
                            • Not everyone is a technology expert
                              • Figure 7: Awareness of new technology currently available in the marketplace, 2008 and 2009
                            • More ways of playing games online than ever
                              • Figure 8: How games are played online, April 2009
                            • Competing against specialised sites
                              • Figure 9: Types of activity undertaken on the internet in the last three months, October 2008-October 2009
                            • Google gets in on the act
                              • Social networks as an advertising channel
                                • Figure 10: Types of sites on which online ads are most likely to be paid attention to, August 2009
                            • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                • Strengths
                                  • Weaknesses
                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                    • Key points
                                      • Corporate social networks
                                        • Facebook Reconnect
                                          • Online memorials
                                            • A green social network
                                              • Honk if you want a new car
                                              • Leading Social Networks and Their Users

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Incorporating internet metrics
                                                    • Facebook continues to dominate the UK market
                                                      • Figure 11: Overall usage of social networks, three-month average, July-September 2009
                                                    • Facebook versus Twitter
                                                      • Figure 12: Percentage reach of selected social networking sites across the total internet population, September 2008-09
                                                    • Can MySpace fight back?
                                                      • What next for Bebo?
                                                        • Facebook most popular, and most widely used by age
                                                          • Figure 13: Audience levels of selected social networks, by total penetration, age and gender, three-month average, July-September 2009
                                                          • Figure 14: Percentage reach of selected social networks, by total penetration, age and gender, three-month average, July-September 2009
                                                      • Companies and Products

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Bebo
                                                            • Facebook
                                                              • Friends Reunited
                                                                • LinkedIn
                                                                  • MySpace.com
                                                                    • Twitter
                                                                    • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Adspend low across all networks
                                                                          • Figure 15: Advertising spend for selected social networks, Jan 2007-Oct 2009
                                                                        • The platform for brand activity
                                                                          • Branded applications and profiles
                                                                          • Brand Elements

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Brand map
                                                                                    • Figure 16: Attitudes towards and usage of social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                    • Figure 17: Attitudes towards and usage of social networking brands, by 16-24-year-olds, October 2009
                                                                                  • Brand qualities of social networking brands
                                                                                    • Facebook leads, but Bebo losing adult favour
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Personalities of various social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                    • Experience of social networking brands
                                                                                      • Twitter takes flight, Facebook maintains interest
                                                                                        • Figure 19: Consumer usage of various social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                      • Brand intentions for social networking brands
                                                                                        • Friends Reunited most considered
                                                                                          • Figure 20: Consideration of various social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                        • Brand satisfaction for social networking brands
                                                                                          • Facebook clicking all the right buttons
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Satisfaction with various social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                          • Brand commitment to social networking brands
                                                                                            • Bebo losing older interest
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Commitment to various social networking brands, October 2009
                                                                                            • MySpace
                                                                                              • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                • Figure 23: Attitudes towards the MySpace brand, October 2009
                                                                                              • LinkedIn
                                                                                                • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Attitudes towards the LinkedIn brand, October 2009
                                                                                                • Bebo
                                                                                                  • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Attitudes towards the Bebo brand, October 2009
                                                                                                  • Twitter
                                                                                                    • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Attitudes towards the Twitter brand, October 2009
                                                                                                    • Facebook
                                                                                                      • What the consumer thinks
                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Attitudes towards the Facebook brand, October 2009
                                                                                                    • Frequency of Social Network Usage

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • More friends equals greater content creation and reason to visit
                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Regular* usage of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Occasional* usage of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                        • Widening array of applications drives record numbers to play online
                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Trends in usage of social netowrks, March 2008 to September 2009
                                                                                                        • Facebook has the broadest reach among older, regular internet users
                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Regular users of selected social networks, by gender and age, September 2009
                                                                                                      • Where do People Access Social Networks?

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Mobile access niche due to smart phone penetration
                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Where people access social networking sites, September 2009
                                                                                                          • Early adopters most likely to surf… but not for too much longer
                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Where people access social networking sites, by gender and age, September 2009
                                                                                                          • The rise of social aggregators
                                                                                                            • Facebook launches its ‘connect’ mobile service
                                                                                                              • Mobile hardware and social networks become more interlinked
                                                                                                                • Access at work leads more companies to block social networking usage
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Trends for where people access social networking sites, March 2008-September 2009
                                                                                                                • Facebook the most popular social network accessed via mobiles
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Usage of different social networks by where people access social networking sites, September 2009
                                                                                                              • Reasons for Using a Social Network

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • More emphasis on friends than advanced site functionality
                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Use of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                  • Research over time shows advanced usage stagnating
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Trends for use of social networks, March 2008-September 2009
                                                                                                                  • Differences by age
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Use of social networks, by age, September 2009
                                                                                                                  • Differences by gender
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Use of social networks, by age, September 2009
                                                                                                                  • Reasons to visit social network by social networking destination
                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Most popular usage of different social networks, by use of networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Next most popular usage of different social networks, by use of networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                  • Mobile users have more reasons to use social network sites
                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Use of social networks, by where access sites, September 2009
                                                                                                                • Attitudes Towards Social Network Security

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Greater awareness of security issues, but there are still gaps
                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Trends in attitudes towards security and use of social networks, December 2008-September 2009
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards security by gender
                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Attitudes towards security and use of social networks, by gender, September 2009
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards security by age
                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Attitudes towards security and use of social networks, by age, September 2009
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards security by social network used
                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Most popular usage of different social networks, by attitudes towards security and use of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Next most popular usage of different social networks, by attitudes towards security and use of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                  • General Attitudes Towards Social Networks

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Low interest in virtual goods, for now
                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Attitudes towards social networking in general, September 2009
                                                                                                                      • Virtual goods are profitable
                                                                                                                        • Future for buying goods and services socially
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes versus regular and occasional users
                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Attitudes towards social networking in general, by regular and occasional users of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes versus where accessed
                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Attitudes towards social networking in general, by where access sites, September 2009
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Leading Social Networks and Their Users

                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Media Metrix Core Measures Definitions User Guide
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Frequency of Social Network Usage

                                                                                                                            • Figure 52: Regular* usage of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 53: Occasional* usage of social networks, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Regular usage of social networks, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 55: Occasional usage of social networks, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Where do People Access Social Networks?

                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Where people access social networking sites, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Reasons for Using a Social Network

                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Most popular use of networks, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Next most popular use of networks, by demographics, September 2009 (continued)
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Social Network Security

                                                                                                                          • Key analysis
                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Most popular attitudes towards security and use of social networks, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Next most popular attitudes towards security and use of social networks, by demographics, September 2009
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – General Attitudes Towards Social Networks

                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Most popular attitudes towards social networking in general, by demographics, September 2009

                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                        • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                        • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                        • Bang & Olufsen
                                                                                                                        • Bebo Inc
                                                                                                                        • Betfair
                                                                                                                        • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
                                                                                                                        • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                        • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                        • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                        • Competition Commission
                                                                                                                        • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Fox Interactive Media
                                                                                                                        • FriendsReunited
                                                                                                                        • Friendster Inc
                                                                                                                        • Google UK
                                                                                                                        • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                        • Home Retail Group
                                                                                                                        • Homebase Ltd
                                                                                                                        • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                        • Kelkoo S.A.
                                                                                                                        • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                        • LinkedIn
                                                                                                                        • Lloyds Banking Group
                                                                                                                        • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                        • Microsoft Ltd (UK)
                                                                                                                        • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                        • News Corporation (The)
                                                                                                                        • Nokia Corporation (UK)
                                                                                                                        • Office of Fair Trading
                                                                                                                        • PriceRunner UK
                                                                                                                        • Procter & Gamble UK & Ireland
                                                                                                                        • Research in Motion Uk Ltd.
                                                                                                                        • Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                        • Skype Technologies S.A.
                                                                                                                        • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                        • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                        • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                        • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                        • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                        • Waitrose
                                                                                                                        • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                        • Yahoo! UK & Ireland
                                                                                                                        • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                        Social Networking - UK - November 2009

                                                                                                                        £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)