This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the Americans’ Social Circles market including Americans’ Social Circles market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Americans’ Social Circles market in the US.

Current market landscape

For many consumers, their friendships and the social circles that surround them are a crucial aspect of their identity and how they understand their place in the world. It’s through socializing that consumers are exposed to new lifestyles, perspectives, and even brands. Brands that are able to understand and insert themselves into consumers’ social circles can build deeper engagement with the individual consumers as well as become an integral part of the friends’ shared bond.

Future market trends in social circles in America

As consumers struggle with widespread social isolation and loneliness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands also have the opportunity to help people reconnect with estranged friends, deepen current friendships, or even build new social connections.

Read on to discover more about the Americans’ Social Circles consumer market, read our US Urban, Rural, and Suburban Lifestyles Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Leisure Time Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on socializing behaviors.
  • The role that friendships play in consumers’ lives and identities.
  • Key challenges to socializing and meeting new people.
  • Consumers’ primary sources of social connection and the qualities they share with their closest friends.

Covered in this report

Brands include: Nextdoor, Porsche, Hyundai, Absolut, Cristal Bicolor, Tim Horton’s, Microsoft, Pokémon.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Lisa Dubina, a leading analyst in the Culture and Identity sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing presence of virtual spaces are changing the way consumers think about and pursue new friendships. As people navigate the new landscape of social life, they continue to struggle with the challenges of meeting new people and forging new friendships. Brands have the opportunity to help facilitate social opportunities for consumers and help them expand their social circles across both online and in-person channels.
Lisa Dubina, Senior Culture and Identity Analyst
Lisa Dubina
Associate Director, Culture and Identity

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Market context
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Cluster segmentation – Outlook on socializing, 2022
    • Social Strivers
    • Socially Stable
    • Social Butterflies
    • Family Firsts
    • Social Introverts
    • Impact of COVID-19 on Americans’ Social Circles
      • Figure 2: Impact of COVID-19 on friendships, 2022
      • Figure 3: Post-COVID-19 socializing, 2022
    • Challenges and Opportunities
    • Nearly half of Americans desire more friends, but more than half find making new friends to be challenging
      • Figure 4: Satisfaction in friendships, 2022
      • Figure 5: Making new friends, by socializing segments, 2022
    • Americans also want more time and opportunities to socialize with their friends
      • Figure 6: Time to socialize, by social segments, 2022
      • Figure 7: Activities with friends, 2022
    • Although the majority of Americans meet their friends in the ‘real world,’ meeting friends online and in the virtual world is likely to become more ubiquitous
      • Figure 8: Origins of close friendships, 2022
  3. The Consumer: Fast Facts

  4. Target Audience: Segmentation and Current Opportunities

    • Target Audience by the Numbers: Segmenting consumers by their socializing philosophies
      • Figure 9: Cluster segmentation – Outlook on socializing, 2022
    • Factors
    • Segments
    • Social Strivers (24%)
      • Figure 10: Demographic profile – Social Strivers segment, 2022
    • Socially Stable (16%)
      • Figure 11: Demographic profile – Socially Stable segment, 2022
    • Social Butterfly (19%)
      • Figure 12: Demographic profile – Social Butterfly segment, 2022
    • Family First (19%)
      • Figure 13: Demographic profile – Family First segment, 2022
    • Social Introverts (22%)
      • Figure 14: Demographic profile – Social Introverts segment, 2022
  5. Impact of COVID-19 on Socializing

    • Three in 10 Americans lost touch with friends during the pandemic
      • Figure 15: Impact of COVID-19 on friendships, 2022
    • Social Butterflies have been the most social throughout the pandemic, but are least likely to have a COVID-19 social pod
      • Figure 16: Impact of COVID-19 on friendships, by social segments, 2022
    • After COVID-19, people want cautiously to return to socializing and narrow their social circles
      • Figure 17: Post-COVID-19 socializing, 2022
    • Social Strivers are excited to return to in-person socializing and are determined to grow their social circle
      • Figure 18: Post-COVID-19 socializing, by socializing segments – Social Strivers, 2022
    • Social Butterflies are eager to connect with their closest friends in-person
      • Figure 19: Post-COVID-19 socializing, by socializing segments – Social Butterflies, 2022
    • More than a third of Social Introverts seek to grow their social networks post-COVID-19
      • Figure 20: Post-COVID-19 socializing, by socializing segments – Social Introverts, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Nextdoor connecting local neighbors throughout the pandemic
      • Figure 21: The impact of Nextdoor in Dallas community, September 29, 2021
  6. Challenges to Socializing

    • More than half of Americans feel it’s challenging to make new friends
      • Figure 22: Making new friends, by socializing segments, 2022
    • Lifestage matters in perceived ease of making new friends
      • Figure 23: Making new friends, by age, 2022
    • Global spotlight: Poland community introduces ‘Happy to Chat’ benches
      • Figure 24: Happy to Chat Benches will be introduced in Poland under the name of Gaduławka, September 2021
    • Nearly six in 10 people feel meeting new people is exciting rather than exhausting
      • Figure 25: Meeting new people, by social segments, 2022
    • Once again, lifestage factors into consumer outlook on meeting new people
      • Figure 26: Meeting new people, by age, 2022
    • A third of Americans have lost touch with friends throughout the pandemic
      • Figure 27: Losing touch with friends during COVID-19, by socializing segments, 2022
    • Younger adults the most likely to feel they’ve lost touch with friends
      • Figure 28: Losing touch with friends during COVID-19, by gender and age, by gender and parental status, 2022
    • Americans desire more opportunities to socialize with their friends
      • Figure 29: Time to socialize, by social segments, 2022
    • Lifestage is once again a factor in people’s desire for more time/opportunities to socialize
      • Figure 30: Time to socialize, by social segments, by age, 2022
  7. Role of Social Circles

    • The majority of Americans feel they have strong social circles which are crucial to their identity
      • Figure 31: Role of friendships, 2022
    • Family Firsts and Social Introverts are least likely to consider their social circles to be strong or feel they influence who they are
      • Figure 32: Role of friendships, by social segments, 2022
    • Despite three quarters of people saying they have a best friend, nearly half still wish they had more friends
      • Figure 33: Satisfaction in friendships, 2022
    • Family Firsts and Social Introverts are least likely to have a best friend, and Social Strivers are most likely to want more friends
      • Figure 34: Satisfaction in friendships, by social segments, 2022
    • Age impacts desire for more friends
      • Figure 35: Satisfaction in friendships, by age, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Porsche Club GB connects brand enthusiasts at the peak of COVID-19
      • Figure 36: Porsche Club GB calls for sim racers, March 2020
  8. Family Versus Friends

    • The majority of people place their family before friends
      • Figure 37: Prioritizing family, by social segments, 2022
    • Stage of life impact if someone prioritizes family over friends
      • Figure 38: Family versus friends, by age, by marital status and parental status, 2022
    • In line with prioritizing family, half of people consider their closest friends to be family
      • Figure 39: Family versus friends, by social segments, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Hyundai celebrates chosen family
      • Figure 40: Hyundai’s “Chosen Family,” April 2021
    • Most people believe a person’s spouse should also be their best friend
      • Figure 41: Spouse vs friend, by social segments, 2022
    • Having a spouse, more than having children, affects people’s prioritization of family
      • Figure 42: Family versus friends, and spouse vs friends, by gender, marital status and parental status, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Absolut Vodka celebrates singles this Galentine’s Day
      • Figure 43: Absolut’s celebrating Galentine’s day
  9. Drivers of Social Connection

    • Close proximity and similar walks of life are the main social connectors, though a third have met online
      • Figure 44: Origins of close friendships, 2022
    • Social Butterflies have the most sources of friendship while Social Strivers are most likely to meet their friends online
      • Figure 45: Origins of close friendships– Repertoire analysis, by social segment, 2022
      • Figure 46: Origins of close friendships, by social segment, 2022
    • People of color are more likely to meet friends online
      • Figure 47: Origins of close friendships, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: Cristal Bicolor beer combines the physical and virtual worlds for Peruvian consumers
      • Figure 48: Cristal Bicolor celebrates Gamers’ Day – both virtually and in real life, August 2021
    • Sense of humor, morals and values are the main shared traits among friends
      • Figure 49: Shared traits with friends, 2022
    • Women are more likely to have more traits in common with their friends than men
      • Figure 50: Shared traits – Repertoire analysis, by gender, 2022
    • Social Butterflies and Socially Stable people have the most in common with their friends, while Family Firsts and Social Introverts have the least
      • Figure 51: Tim Hortons’ Proud Fathers, February 2006
      • Figure 52: Shared traits – Repertoire analysis, by social segments, 2022
    • As people age, their shared bonds with their friends become deeper and more identity-based
      • Figure 53: Shared traits, by age, 2022
    • People who are most dedicated to their political beliefs are most likely to share those beliefs with their friends
      • Figure 54: Shared traits – political beliefs, by political affiliation, and by generation, 2022
    • Younger Americans are more likely to have lost friends due to conflicting political beliefs
      • Figure 55: Losing friends to politics, by generation, 2022
  10. Interacting with Friends

    • Aside from technological communication, dining out and shopping together are the most common ways to interact with friends
      • Figure 56: Activities with friends, 2022
    • More than half of Americans want more opportunities to interact with their friends
      • Figure 57: Time to socialize, by social segments, 2022
    • Married parents are also hungry for more opportunities to connect with their friends
      • Figure 58: Time to socialize, by social segments, 2022
    • Group media consumption, vacationing, cooking, and working out hold opportunities for brands
      • Figure 59: Activities with friends, by social segments, 2022
    • Brand spotlight: The Morning Toast podcast hosts in-person event, Camp Toast
      • Figure 60: Camp Toast 2019, January 2020
    • Gains to be had by exploring unique ways to help friends connect virtually
      • Figure 61: Activities with friends, by generation, 2022
  11. Competitive Strategies: A Look Ahead

    • Identity: Building social community through common interests and experiences
    • Brand spotlight: Cult Creative connecting artists
      • Figure 62: The Cult Creative is here, December 2021
    • Brand spotlight: Microsoft and Macklemore unite the world through hope and optimism
      • Figure 63: Macklemore launches a group text for the world, December 2021
    • Technology: Creating virtual social experiences
    • Brand spotlight: Tinder invests in developing ‘Swipe Party’ feature
    • Brand spotlight: Fortnite revolutionizing the music industry with virtual concerts
      • Figure 64: Justin Bieber enters the metaverse, November 2021
  12. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us