The Demographics of Instagram and Snapchat Users

Pew-Snapchat-User-Demos-Oct2013A majority 54% of US internet users aged 18 and up now post original photos and videos online, up from 46% last year, says the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in a new report [pdf]. As part of its survey of the photo and video landscape, the researcher explores the use of Instagram and Snapchat, finding the former adopted by 18% of cell phone owners and the latter by 9%. Predictably, both are much more heavily used by youth.

Among cell phone users, fully 26% of 18-29-year-olds report using Snapchat, a figure which plummets to 5% among 30-49-year-olds, 3% of the 50-64 crowd and 2% of those 65 and older. Interestingly, there’s no real gender disparity to speak of, nor is there any real gap in adoption between whites and African-Americans. Sorting by education attainment yields no significant differences, although use appears higher among those with less than $30k in household income (12%) than those with greater household income (5-9%).

Pew-Instagram-User-Demos-Oct2013The demographics of Instagram users look a little bit different, although linear trends are also few and far between. Some 20% of female cell phone users aged 18 and up use the application, compared to 16% of males, although Pew doesn’t deem this a statistically significant difference. Similarly, while 20% of African-Americans reported using the app, compared to 14% of whites, that result also doesn’t show up as being outside of the margin of error.

Once again, the biggest gap comes when sorting by age. Fully 43% of 18-29-year-old cell phone users report using Instagram – a number that will likely rise over time given a recent report showing that Instagram is now the second-most important social network to American teens, tied with Facebook behind Twitter.

While the adoption rate falls significantly among older age groups, a fairly significant 18% of respondents in the 30-49 age group say they use Instagram, suggesting that Instagram’s user base isn’t as heavily skewed towards youth as Snapchat’s, which is – in fairness – not much of a surprise.

In terms of education attainment, respondents with some college education proved most likely to be using Instagram (23%), ahead of college graduates (18%) and those with high school degrees or less (15%). There was no statistically significant difference when sorting by household income (HHI), though respondents with more than $75k in HHI (21%) were most likely to say they are using the app.

Recent data from GlobalWebIndex suggests that 12% of smartphone users worldwide are using Instagram as of Q3, with that figure representing 130% growth from the start of this year. Earlier data from SimplyMeasured indicates that top brands are paying more attention to the app – and surely will be giving it a closer look now that ads are coming.

Other Findings:

  • Among Instagram users, 24% say they use it several times a day, while another 12% say they use it daily.
  • 56% of female internet users post original photos on the internet (“creators”), compared to 48% of males.
  • 47% of adult internet users report sharing images and videos they found elsewhere online (“curators”), up from 41% last year.
  • Both creators and curators skew towards the 18-29 age group.

About the Data: A nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults ages 18+ was taken October 3-6, 2013. It was conducted in English on landline and cell phones. The sample contained 852 internet users and 941 cell phone owners. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3.6 percentage points. The margin of error for internet users is +/- 3.9 percentage points. The margin of error for cell phone owners is +/- 3.7 percentage points.