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Social media is now a global phenomenon, with most online adults in North America, Europe, metro Asia, and Latin America regular users, according to a new update of Forrester's Global Social Media Adoption In 2011, originally published in January 2012.

More than 86% of online US adults and 79% of European online adults engage with social media, whereas In BRIC countries some 93% of online users use social tools.

The report uses Forrester's Social Technographics system to classify social media use worldwide (18 countries in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia). Users fall into seven groups based on online activities, and consumers can fall into several different groups. Only Inactives are an exclusive group.

Below, some highlights from Forrester's update regarding global social media adoption study:

  • "Emerging markets are in love with social media." At least three-quarters of online adults in metro China and metro India are Creators—those who produce and publish social content—compared with 24% in the US.
  • "Social media users in the West prefer to consume rather than create." More than 70% of online adults in the US and Canada (and almost as many in Western Europe), are Spectators.
  • "There's no single picture of a European social media user." Some 49% of online users in the EU-7 countries (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) visit social networking sites. But there are "huge variations" from country to country.
  • "Age is no barrier to social media adoption—especially in emerging markets." Some three-quarters of European and US online users over age 45 use social social media, as do more than 80% metro Chinese and metro Indian online users in the same age category. The latter, though, are more than three times as likely to actually create social content.
  • "Get ready for social on the go." One-third of US online users used mobile devices to access social networking sites in 2011 at least monthly.


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