Current usage of LINE and Instagram, according to the data


Many people use social networking sites every day. This time, we’ll be bringing you a report about the actual usage circumstances of the popular LINE and Instagram services, based on the results we can see from our survey.
You probably have the impression that both of these tools are most frequently used by the young, but in reality, there’s no one age range that makes up a majority of the people posting on Instagram. Plus, the frequency of LINE use is on the rise among elderly.

■The four undisputed giants of the SNS are LINE、Facebook、twitter、Instagram

Every year in December, the Fields Institute conducts a survey on leisure, the Fields Yoka Survey (Hereafter FYS), and one of the things it investigates are the circumstances surrounding people’s use of SNS (Social Networking Service). According to last year’s study, FYS2018 (*1), the top four with the most users clock in at: LINE (62.9%), twitter (32.6%), Facebook (30.1%), and Instagram (21.2%).

Communication Tool Usage Rates

Compared to other tools, which make up less than 10% each, we can clearly see how widespread these four have become. From out of this roster, in order to take a closer look at how they’re used, we’ll be focusing on 2 of them; LINE, which has inspired no shortage of discussions with people ‘Leaving Line’ and glossing over Unread/Already Read messages, and Instagram, familiar for the popularity of ‘instagrammable,’.

■LINE turns out to be the SNS for the older crowd!

First, let’s take a look at the LINE’s age breakdown. The biggest group of users are women between 19 and 22 years of age, and the next largest are female highschoolers.

LINE User Age Breakdown

All in all, we see a similar trend with the guys, though they make up a smaller slice of the pie than women. It’s no exaggeration to say that LINE is a massively popular SNS, with 9 out of every ten people in the highschool ~ early 20s age range making use of the platform.
But when we ask who’s using it more or less than they were last year, we get some interesting results.

Frequency of LINE Usage: Breakdown by Age and Gender (Highschool ~ 69 years of age)

We’ve said that the biggest group of users are women between 19 and 22 years of age, and the next largest are female highschoolers, but these two groups are actually the top two groups with decreased usage frequency. Perhaps the phenomenon of young people “Leaving LINE” can be seen in these numbers. The other side of the issue, the people whose frequency of LINE use has increased, also paints an interesting picture; usage frequency of LINE is increasing as user age get older. (For other popular SNS, twitter and Instagram, usage frequency is decreasing.)

Furthermore, we can see differences in the way people think about LINE, depending on their age.

Ways of thinking about LINE

When it comes to LINE, among people who think they’ll keep using LINE for the foreseeable future, the results indicate that the majority fall within the 65~69 age range. (Although the trend isn’t as strong as it is with guys, women’s age rage is also trending gradually upwards.) It’s difficult to comment on these results, but one feature of the 60 and older age set is retirement, and the life changes that come with it. After leaving the workplace and finding themselves with more time to keep up with their friends and family using LINE, they may appreciate the convenience of LINE more than others.

■InstaGirls are actually a minority of those posting on the platform.

Now, let’s take a look at Instagram.
Having spawned ‘Instagrammable,’ winner of the 2017 YouCan Neologism/Trending Word Grand Prize, it might be safe to say that there’s no other SNS that’s the focus of more attention at the moment.
And when you think of Instagram, you think of a tool that’s mainly used by young women. Even when we look at the actual numbers, women from highschool age to their 30s are far and away the biggest group on Instagram.

Frequency of Instagram Usage: Breakdown by Age and Gender (Highschool ~ 69 years of age)

In contrast to LINE, we cannot find any signs of phenomenon of young people “Leaving Instagram”.
When we ask frequency of Instagram usage, more than 50% of respondents said that they have used it more than last year; Instagram keeps its users active.

Frequency of Instagram Usage: Breakdown by Age and Gender (Highschool ~ 69 years of age)

However, what exactly does that ‘usage’ consist of? When we narrow things down and take a closer look at
the group with the highest use rate, women between highschool age and 34 years, we see something surprising. The highest occurrence of the answer “I mostly use it to post things myself” can be found in 19~22 year old women, at a mere 13.4%. For highschool age girls, the number doesn’t even break 1 in 10, coming in at 8.6%. “I mostly use it to comment and share” claims 20~30% of respondents, but even so, if you consider posting and sharing to be the most exciting parts of the Instagram experience, these numbers seem surprisingly low.

Instagram Usage Types

Perhaps the people have become too self-conscious about the how ‘Instagrammable’ something is or isn’t, presenting a hurdle to posting their own content even though they have a good time browsing. After all, it’s been said that a term, ‘Uninstagrammable,’ developed in opposition to the first term around the end of last year, has slowly been gaining popularity. Maybe the height of those hurdles will be examined more closely in 2018.

In actuality, SNS platforms tend to sell themselves on their casual convenience, but between LINE’s issues with missing unread and already read messages, and the aforementioned hurdles related to the Instagrammability of posts, it seems that they create a lot of tough and tiring situations for those using them. It’s important to maintain a proper sense of distance when using them, but young people tend to seek out things with consideration towards keeping up with their friends and being sensitive to current trends, so it might be difficult for them to maintain the right amount of distance.
When you think about things in this way, it’s surprisingly fitting that the characteristics of these SNS might be a better match for older people with more mental energy to spare. With such a broad range of age groups using these tools, in the future we might see new and innovative uses for them, or even all new tools on the horizon.

■Recommended Articles

(Article: M.Kobayashi)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

(*1)Fields Yoka Survey 2018
A web survey carried out in December 2017 which surveyed 11,642 people across the nation from elementary school age to 69 years of age. It queried their behaviors in relation to and their sense of values regarding free time.

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