Over the last 14 years, YouTube has grown to become one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide. But, as YouTube demographics data shows, it means different things to different people. Men and women tend to consume different types of content; the pattern of use varies significantly across generations; the platform’s popularity in different countries is for various reasons.
If this range of information is fascinating to the general tech enthusiast, it is positively critical for marketers who want to make proper use of this valuable channel to reach and engage specific audience sections. YouTube’s ad targeting has become more efficient over the years, but if business owners or marketers do not know who is watching what, where and how often, these developments wouldn’t be of much use.
Read on to discover the latest statistics on YouTube users by gender, country, and age that will surely help you understand your target audience better and strategize accordingly.
In mid-2018, Business Insider reported that YouTube had surpassed the 1.8 billion monthly active user figure, coming within spitting distance of Facebook, which has an MAU of around 2 billion. The latest official stats from YouTube state that the platform has come even closer to the magic 2 billion figure. These users, accounting for almost one-third of the internet, watch 1 billion hours of video every day, thus generating billions of views.
Statistics show that the rate of growth of YouTube users is slowing down year-on-year, which is not unexpected as the user base keeps growing every year as the platform tries to extend its reach into more difficult regions. While 2016 saw a growth of 13% in the YouTube viewership base, this is likely to come down to a little less than 5% by 2021.
YouTube’s average usage level across all internet users of all ages in the US stood at 83% in 2018. Interestingly, even though the average user of the platform is thought to be a young male, the average level of usage for both genders is the same. The only other social media platform with greater popularity in the US is Facebook at 86% of all internet users.
Once we revealed what percentage of YouTube users are male, it came as no surprise that, like most social networks, YouTube has a higher percentage of male users than female ones. As we will see, the divide is not uniform across all content categories, and depending on their niche, marketers could still reach a large number of women through YouTube. There isn’t clear information on this point, however. Even Google claimed some time back that more than 50% of its users are female, though this YouTube gender demographics data from 2017 is slightly dated and might only apply to the US.
Given the significantly higher number of male users, studies have found that men make up the majority of viewers in 90% of YouTube’s content categories. The most male-dominated categories are in sports, gaming, and virtual worlds. Within sports, soccer has the most significant dominance by male viewers at 94.62%. According to YouTube gender demographics 2018, female-dominated categories are make-up and cosmetics, skin and nail care, and weight loss. Pop music is also a genre where women have a slight edge over men on YouTube.
Other relevant bits of information that might be of particular interest to marketers include the fact that YouTube users are more likely to have kids compared to ones who don’t use the platform; they are slightly more likely to be urban-dwellers than rural; and they are somewhat more likely to be from households with income higher than $100000.
Depending on the country user access YouTube from, the trending and suggested content keeps changing. With local versions in over 91 countries, YouTube is one of those cultural aspects of our times that bind people from across the world. It also helps marketers with providing a truly international platform for engaging customers.
It’s not just the content that changes across different access locations. Being available in 80 languages means that the platform connects with 95% of the global internet population in a language the people are most comfortable with. This has an obvious positive effect on engagement rates.
Based on site traffic, YouTube ranks 2nd in the US. Data on YouTube users by country shows that other countries that account for the highest visits to the platform are India (8.2%), Japan (4.7%), Russia (4.5%), and China (3.4%). Note that YouTube has not been widely accessible in China since 2009. Its accessibility in the country is limited to certain territories like Hong Kong, Macau, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, as well as a few hotels on the mainland. There are other countries like Saudi Arabia where YouTube has an extensive viewership base, but the number of users is not comparable to those from larger countries like India and Russia.
Which country has the most YouTube users? The above data would indicate the answer is India. YouTube is used by 80% of India’s internet population, making the country its fastest-growing market in the world. This growth has been driven by highly affordable mobile plans and the availability of free content on the platform. Given India’s attractiveness as a retail destination and the consistently growing purchasing power of its population, YouTube’s growth bodes well for businesses that have got their video marketing game down pat. Furthermore, the number of online video viewers in India is expected to grow to 500 million by 2020 on the back of cheaper smartphones being released and the introduction of YouTube Go, a data-friendly version of YouTube.
Wondering who uses YouTube in India the most?! Being available in most of the widely spoken languages in India has helped the platform tremendously. Viewer demographics data from India shows that 60% of YouTube’s Indian viewership comes from outside the main cities of the country. India is also a more engaged market than the rest of the world, where more than 65% viewers subscribe to channels and 7 out of 10 viewers watch ads with the audio turned on.
YouTube’s 63% popularity in Russia beats the homegrown players like VKontakte (61%) and Odnoklassniki (42%). Facebook’s popularity is nearly half that of YouTube at 35%. YouTube age demographics in Russia are more skewed toward the younger generations than in the US or Western European countries. Other notable names that are among the leaders but nowhere close to YouTube include Skype (38%), WhatsApp (38%), Viber (33%), and Instagram (31%).
The freeware app LINE is by far the most popular social network in Japan, with an audience reach of 80.8%. While Twitter and Instagram also score above YouTube at 42.8% and 35.8%, respectively, YouTube scores a respectable 34% to reach more internet users in the country than Facebook does.
For those of you wondering what is the average age of a YouTube user; the mid-20s would be a good guess. Like most other tech products and services, YouTube is also popular among the younger cohort. If we divide the US population into 10-year blocks starting from the age of 25, YouTube’s popularity keeps descending as we move toward older age blocks. From the 95% popularity in the 25-34 group, the level goes down to 51% in the 75+ age group. What is impressive, however, is that YouTube’s popularity doesn’t go under 50% in no age group.
Binge-watching has become a trending pastime, allowing viewers to watch an entire series or a substantial part of it without having to wait for a week or more between subsequent episodes. According to YouTube age demographics 2018 data, not only do 60% of YouTube’s youngest users indulge in binge-watching, 26% do so every day. Furthermore, YouTube was chosen by people across age groups as the preferred destination to binge-watch content. Marketers can capitalize on these viewing habits and behaviors to reach their audience in creative ways.
What age group watches YouTube the most? Decreasing data costs and the availability of a wide range of content has meant that - while only 32% of Gen Z-ers were consuming even 1 hour of video content daily in 2016 - nearly three-fourths are doing it for more than 3 hours nowadays. Retailers should keep in mind that Gen Z-ers form the most prominent cohort among consumers today - even more significant than Millennials - and YouTube is the go-to source for video content for them, although Facebook is fast catching up.
Facebook’s overall higher popularity in the US is not on the strength of its popularity among youngsters but among middle-aged and elderly users. In fact, the UK YouTube demographics report indicates that the platform has a higher prevalence than Facebook across the 18 to 64 age group. This suggests that all other factors being equal, marketers targeting younger users have better chances on YouTube than on Facebook.
Marketers would do well to note this point. Young and many middle-aged adults in the US watch content more often on YouTube than they do on cable networks. Instead of spending millions of dollars on TV ads, that marketing budget might be better spent on the highly targeted advertising possible on YouTube.
Based on the demographics of YouTube users and their consumption trends, Forrester Research and Google have predicted that about half of all TV viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a traditional cable-TV service by 2025. This would, in turn, entail a massive shift in how businesses advertise, as well.
Most adult users find YouTube ads engaging, but the platform influences purchase intent at a much higher rate among Millennials than it does among older adults. In comparison to Millennials, only 51% of people over 35 are likely to take action after viewing a YouTube ad. According to Comscore YouTube demographics data, Millennials are particularly keen on ads that are personalized and relevant, meaning brands need to custom-tailor their ads for their targeted audiences.
YouTube hasn’t just affected the lives of adults. The cited survey found that traditional careers aspirations like being a doctor, lawyer, or teacher, or even more glamorous professions like acting and modeling have taken a backseat to being a YouTuber. In fact, as many as 75% of the youngsters in this YouTube user demographics survey wanted to have a career in online videos.
If you thought that it’s the millions of dollars being made by YouTube’s top influencers that are attracting children to this profession, you’d be gravely mistaken. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the children mention creativity as their top motivation for wanting to become YouTubers, followed by 11.4% who want fame and 11% who find the opportunity for self-expression attractive. Money is the fourth highest at 9.8%, followed by interacting with people, recognition, and opportunity to travel.
Data from YouTube viewer demographics research has consistently shown that the platform’s attraction among its young users is undeniable. For many Gen Z-ers and Millennials, YouTubers are more realistic icons than film or pop stars, and sometimes even more influential than the people in their daily lives. The variety of content created by these social media influencers also means that every user finds a niche that appeals to him or her.
When it comes down to who watches YouTube for product ideas, it seems teenagers and young adults are the most prominent group here. Only 48% of users in this age group would try out a brand or a product if the recommendation comes from a movie or TV star. YouTubers’ influence on young users is directly reflected in the purchase habits of the latter group, a fact well understood by marketers.
YouTubers’ influence goes well beyond the realm of business. According to data from Google, YouTubers - either through their content or their public personas - have inspired nearly half of their Millennial followers to bring about a personal change. YouTubers are bigger role models for the youth today than celebrities in any other category.
Multi-year YouTube demographics surveys asking US teenagers to rank popular personalities based on approachability, authenticity, and other criteria deemed as aspects of overall influence place YouTubers at the top spots, above celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Katy Perry. YouTubers are often common folk, at least compared to traditional film stars and other celebrities, whom teenagers are likely to find more relatable.
For a tech-savvy generation in which at least 10% of people use ad blockers, the above is a very high stat. This is partly because YouTube ads are very well-targeted these days, ensuring high relevance for nearly every ad that is shown to the user. Plus, as YouTube demographics 2019 have shown, 90% of youngsters use the platform for product discovery, which makes them more receptive to advertising here than on other social media.
While YouTube is the most-used social platform for Gen Z, as per latest Gen Z statistics, even above Instagram and Facebook, one area where the platform has lost out to newer players is music. Unlike teenagers from the 80s and 90s, today’s teens aren’t too keen on watching music videos. For them, the features offered by music streaming services are more attractive, making Spotify and Apple Music the music platforms of choice for 60% and 26% teenagers, respectively.
While data on demographics of YouTube users might show that Millennials and Gen Z-ers form the most prominent user base for YouTube, it’s the older generations that are seeing the fastest growth, with time spent by adults 35+ and 55+ going 40% and 80% faster than overall growth, respectively, in recent years.
Another indication that anyone would be mistaken to consider YouTube just a young person’s platform is this piece of information from Google. Google also says that 75% of those aged 35 to 53 watch YouTube at least once a month.
A YouTube demographics 2018 study shows 68% of Baby Boomers watch YouTube videos to be entertained, 75% of the generation watch to embrace nostalgia, 68% use it to stay in the know, and 73% use it to access how-to content.
The opportunity to save time is one of the chief reasons Baby Boomers use YouTube. Apart from quicker learning through videos, this also extends to being able to watch videos in shorter blocks compared to the hour-long slots one is typically locked into with TV.
Two-thirds of US adults get their news from social media, marking another major change in the consumption of content. What might not be as well-known is that YouTube is one of the primary sources of this news content for many adults in the US. This trend in YouTube users’ demographics is something that many other regions of the world are catching up to. Moreover, brands like Microsoft, the name behind the industry-leading cloud storage software, Cisco, and Adobe have already begun using YouTube as one of the leading platforms to share news and press releases.
It’s not surprising that entertainment is the most popular genre across generations. Significant differences, however, lie in genres that follow entertainment in popularity. For Millennials, the second and third most popular genres are technology and sports, respectively. For Gen X, these are healthy living and world news, while for Baby Boomers, entertainment is followed by world news and politics in the popularity rankings.
Even though its user growth rate is slowing down, YouTube’s monthly active user base has come very close to Facebook’s. Along with the number, YouTube also promises a highly diversified user base, with more than 80% of its viewership based outside the US. Gender and age demographics data show that different groups engage differently with the platform, and marketers would do well to understand these variations to make the best out of targeting on the platform.