Social media usage is on the rise in China and reaching an ever-greater share of the population, according to 2015 data. According to Kantar, gains in social media usage in China occurred in all age groups last year.
Consumers ages 16 to 25 were the most likely group to use social media in 2015 as they were the year before, but social sites had gained nearly 20 percentage points in reach over the period. Gains for 36- to 45-year-olds were even bigger in absolute terms—and much larger in percentage terms.
Among those 55 and older, a 4.7-point increase in social reach translated to nearly a doubling in social media penetration.
The most popular social media service in China in 2015 remained WeChat, which has held the top spot since 2014 when it took over first place from Qzone, which has lost substantial reach since 2013. Qzone was still No. 2, however, and Weibo came in third place.
Missing from the list entirely are international giants like Facebook and Twitter, which are banned in China. eMarketer estimated that there were 481.5 million people in China who used social networks at least monthly in 2015, or 35.4% of the population.
This figure is significantly lower than Kantar’s estimates for overall social media reach—but eMarketer’s numbers only include users of social networks, that is, properties where the primary activities involve creating a profile and interacting with a network of contacts by sharing status updates, comments, photos or other content. Services like WeChat don’t fit this category.