5 Insights to Chart Your Brand’s Path to Digital Growth in 2021



Hootsuite’s 2021 Digital Trends report is your one-stop-shop to navigate trends across social media usage, ecommerce, gaming, cryptocurrency, digital ad spending, search behaviors, and more!


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As marketers, it’s easy to find comfort in our respective lanes and fall back on data that validates our assumptions about what will work or not. 2020 proved that in order to be a leader, you must find opportunities to be a challenger. The best way to do this is by constantly bursting your own bubble and keeping an open mind.

A new report by Hootsuite, in partnership with We Are Social, offers a comprehensive look at the state of the internet, mobile devices, social media, ecommerce, and more. Featuring data from over 220 countries and territories, plus detailed regional reports and quarterly updates, there is no better tool for digital planning insights this year.

Get your free copy of Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Report!


You can download the full report here, but below is a peek at some of the high-level insights and themes shared throughout the nearly 300-page report.

Worldwide social media use: at a glance

Digital 2021 shows that there are now 4.66 billion people around the world using the internet, as of January 2021, up by 316 million (7.3 percent) compared to this time last year. This is close to 60 percent of the world’s population.

In terms of time spent, the average internet user spends nearly 7 hours per day using the internet, a nine percent increase compared to last year. Per week this is equivalent to two full days out of a seven-day window.

Why do you need to know? Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser explains. “Providing the global perspective on demographics and usage patterns on these platforms helps our customers focus their digital strategies and connect with their audience in the most relevant and authentic way,” he said.

Misconceptions around multi-channel

Looking to the world of social media, Facebook remains the world’s most used platform, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. But the burning question has become: how do you decide where to be and when to show up?

Despite common misconceptions, a multichannel strategy does not need to include every single platform to work. In fact, 98% of the users of any given social network also use at least one other social platform.

That means you don’t have to be everywhere to reach your audience. Rather, you can focus on one or two platforms and still reach the right audience.

Don’t overlook the silver surfers

As Hootsuite’s report reveals, baby boomers are the fastest-growing segment on several of the top social platforms’ audiences. The report showed that users over the age of 50 are growing more quickly than any other age group on Facebook and Snapchat.

Where are the younger demographics flocking? Gaming and streaming platforms. More than 90 percent of Gen Z internet users say they play games, compared to 67 percent of those aged 55 to 64.

Ecommerce trends and new search behaviors

A whopping 77 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64 now say that they buy something online each month, with food and personal care the fastest-growing consumer ecommerce category. This shift is shaping search behavior in profound and fundamental ways.

Specifically, close to half (45 percent) of global internet users now say they turn to social when researching products or services. This figure is even higher among Gen Z users, who report that they’re more likely to search for brands on social than via search engines.

“Increasingly, consumers connect with brands in the same way they do with their friends and family members, via social and messaging apps,” added Keiser.

To be a leader, think like a challenger brand

2020, particularly at the onset of the pandemic, proved that the analysis of conversations on social media as they unfold in real-time pays dividends. The ability to use these to unearth creativity and pivot in response to evolving behaviors and trends will remain a key competitive advantage during a time when public opinion is susceptible to fluctuating regularly.

Look no further than the story of a 90-year old cranberry juice company, Ocean Spray, and how it quickly became a disruptor when a viral TikTok took the social scene by storm. The moral to apply in 2021: challenge your preconceived notions and rethink your tried and true strategies.

The brands that will win this year and beyond are the ones that dare to step outside of their comfort zones and capitalize on new growth opportunities in spaces they may not have thought to look. The future does not fit in the containers of the past and the sooner we come to realize this, the more effectively we will be in finding paths to success.

Get your free copy of Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Report!


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