Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe are the social media generations, just like their North American peers. These gens, who grew up with Facebook, Snapchat, and—more recently—TikTok, self-report spending an average of 3.58hours a day on social media. Scrolling through their feed is so addictive that 84% of young Europeans agree with the statement: “my generations are obsessed with social media.”
Because social media holds such an important place in young consumers’ lives, YPulse constantly keeps an eye on their use of social media: which platforms they’re on, how often, and what they’re looking for when they use them. Knowing which platform these gens use the most can help brands make decisions on how and where to best reach them. In YPulse’s recent The TikTok Effect trend report, we asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe all about their social media usage, including which platforms they turn to the most. Here is the most recent data on young Europeans’ usage of social media in Western Europe:
The Top Social Platforms They’re Using
13–39-year-olds in Western Europe
- YouTube (73%)
- WhatsApp (72%)
- Instagram (68%)
- TikTok (58%)
- Facebook (58%)
- Snapchat (40%)
- Facebook Messenger (35%)
- Twitter (34%)
- Telegram (29%)
- Pinterest (28%)
YouTube remains young Europeans’ most used platform
The last time we asked young consumers in Western Europe what social media platforms they use the most, YouTube was on top of the list, and this was also true in 2021. As it is, YouTube continues to be the most used platform among 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe. These generations have grown up on this video platform, and they naturally turn to YouTube to entertain and educate their kids—Gen Alpha. YouTube provides young Europeans with far more than entertainment. Our Self-Taught trend research shows that it’s one of the top resources Gen Z and Millennials go to when they want to learn something new, proving that YouTube is also used as an educational platform too. YouTube is also where young Europeans turn to the most when it comes to finding new music, their biggest passion.
Although YouTube is the top social media platform among European 13-39-year-olds, it is important to look the platforms that each generation are using most to have the full picture. Because Gen Z and Millennials do not use the same social media platforms:
Gen Z in WE is using TikTok and YouTube the most
A closer look at the data reveals that European Gen Z uses two social media platforms the most: YouTube and TikTok. The influence that TikTok has on young consumers’ lives cannot be overstated. In North America, TikTok is already Gen Z’s favorite social media platform. And while this is not yet the case in Western Europe, it shouldn’t be long until the social media platform overcomes its rival YouTube. YPulse’s most recent trend report—The TikTok Effect—shows that TikTok is becoming more than a traditional social media platform: it is one of young consumers’ main sources of entertainment, their go-to for shopping inspo, and even one of the top places they’re finding out about new artists and songs.
Although Millennials are a lot less likely than the younger gen to use TikTok, this does not mean the platform is unpopular among these consumers. In fact, half of European Millennials say they use TikTok, which is more than other social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, or Snapchat—just to name a few. Though Gen Z uses TikTok more than Millennials by +26points, it is Facebook that has the biggest usage difference between the two gens.
Facebook is only popular among Millennials
Facebook is still very popular among European Millennials, with 70% saying they use the platform. This gen is using Facebook to stay in touch with friends, and family, and buy second-hand items on Facebook Marketplace. But the platform has not aged well, and has not succeeded in attracting the next generation. Not even a third of European Gen Z are using Facebook, which means there’s almost +40pts separating the use of Facebook by Millennials and Gen Z. Facebook is the social media platform with the biggest difference in usage between Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe, and this difference is also reflected in their use of Facebook Messenger.
It’s no wonder Facebook is going through a phase of turmoil this year, with the shares of the parent-company Meta hitting a historic low, and investors losing faith in the metaverse projects of the company. Facebook might rebound thanks to the rise of social shopping, which YPulse told you is happening right now in North America. A few weeks ago, Facebook announced a refocus of its live shopping feature from Facebook Live to Reels. Facebook’s short video content feature was launched to counter TikTok, and has now become the company’s fastest-growing format. But data from YPulse’s The TikTok Effect Trend Report that young consumers are not really into copycats. Social media platforms trying to duplicate every new feature from TikTok are not as attractive as the original short video platform, and 71% of young Europeans say they don’t like when social media platforms create new features that replicate other social media platforms.