South Korea’s Social Media Trends in 2020
The Korea Media Panel Survey has released data from surveys conducted annually from 2010 to 2020. The results show that social media has become an integral, if not a necessary, part of Korean peoples’ lives today.
The number of social media users is extremely high in South Korea. In fact, South Korea has the third highest penetration rate (87%) in the world, just after UAE (99%) and Taiwan (88%). Korean social media users utilize many apps popular internationally, like Facebook and Instagram, but there are many notable domestic apps as well such as KaKaoTalk and BAND, which are created by Naver, South Korea’s most popular search engine.
It could be the obsession with sharing photos of their latest luxury wallet, or it could be the fact that South Korea has the fastest internet speed in the world. What we’re sure about is that Koreans are absolutely obsessed with social media.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s different in social media this year compared to 10 years ago.
In 2020, 4,260 households and 10,302 individuals participated in the Korea Media Panel Survey. The study specifically targets media device ownership, service subscription and expenditure and media usage.
1. Changes in Household Media Equipment Ownership
The television has been around for decades now and for many people, it is something that has been present in the average Korean household since their birth. For many of us now, it is impossible to imagine a living room without a TV.
The digital TV ownership rate was 95.5% in 2020, an increase of 5.1% from the previous year. This shows big growth when compared to only 49.1% TV ownership in 2010. This shows that television remains to be a big part of South Korean’s daily lives, and it remains to be a reliable medium.
The number of people who owned laptop computers increased by 2.3% year-on-year to 33.3%, while Tablet PC ownership rate increased by 6.3% year-on-year to 20.6%, continuing an upward trend.
A perfect example of this widespread use, or rather necessity, of laptop computers can be demonstrated in a college campus lecture room. Today, it is not uncommon to see that the majority of the class is taking notes on a laptop as opposed to a pen and paper, which was likely the norm in 2011.
2. Personal Cellular Phone
In 2020, 97% of participants aged 6 and older owned a personal mobile phone. Additionally, since the year 2011, the rate (89.2%) of personal mobile phone ownership has steadily increased.
Have you ever seen a toddler use a smartphone? It’s amazing how their little fingers move through the touchscreen, sometimes even faster than an adult. Data shows that we are advancing quickly through the kinds of smartphones that we use as well.
The proportion of smartphones (5G smartphones, LTE-A smartphones, LTE smartphones, and 3G smartphones) among the types of mobile phones they have has gradually increased, accounted for the majority ownership at 93.8% in 2020.
Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Android continue to compete in the smartphone industry, as they are the most widely used kinds in South Korea.
3. Use of Social network service (SNS)
Social network service (SNS) usage rate was 52.4%, indicating that more than half of the participants surveyed were using social network services. This trend has been steadily rising since 2011 (16.8%). It’s safe to say that more moms, dads and grandparents are on social media than ever before!
Social media has become a place for all demographics, whereas the early 2010’s catered social media sites and apps towards the “younger generation.” Inclusivity means that adults and the elderly spend more time on social media as well.
The most frequently used SNS was Facebook (23.7%), but it has been decreasing since 2017.
4. Telecommunication Broadcasting Services
In 2020, the landline phone subscription rate was 29.7%, gradually decreasing after 2011 (59.4%), falling below 30%. The internet phone subscription rate also gradually decreased since 2011 (24.9%), reaching 8.3%, and the overall trend of landline phone subscriptions continues to decline.
As more people prefer a portable cellular phones, landline internet phone line services have become simply insignificant for many.
In 2020, digital TVs, notebooks, and tablet PCs among household media devices increased, while desktop PCs decreased significantly. The number of people who own a personal mobile phone is still on the rise, of which smartphones account for 93.8%.
The SNS usage rate was 52.4% in 2020, indicating that more than one in two Koreans use at least some kind of social network service.
While the usage rates of Facebook and KaKao Story, which had the highest usage rates so far, are on a decreasing trend, the usage rates of YouTube and Instagram have continued to increase significantly since the launch of the service.
The rate of home phone (or landline) subscriptions, including Internet telephone has been on a decline. In 2020, paid TV subscription services, not only IPTV but also cable TV and satellite broadcasts, have increased.
Looking at the average daily usage time by major media, the average daily usage time of all media (except for paper media) compared to the previous year, increased.
We are moving towards an even more digital world than today. Social media has become a huge component in staying connected with each other, especially in this “untact” era.
South Korea is a perfect case study of how effectively that social media can sway a whole population (and beyond, globally!). To know more about social media trends in Korea, check the AJ Marketing Blog.