By Lucy Siegel | November 20, 2020

This post will provide information about social media trends in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and India as a follow up to our report about European social media trends. Considering the language and cultural diversity among these four countries, it’s not surprising that communication trends vary significantly also.

First, it’s worth noting a discrepancy in the hardware used to access the internet in these markets versus the European markets. Hardware makes a difference in social media usage. It’s essential to know how your audience in different parts of the world connects to their chosen social media networks. For example, some social media platforms only have mobile apps and don’t have laptop/desktop apps. Also, mobile users are more likely to be multitasking while using social media.

In some markets, such as in Africa, the Middle East, and most of Asia, most consumers accessed the internet from the start using mobile phones. In Europe, Oceania and the Americas, desktop came first and mobile followed. According to web analytics service company Statcounter, hardware use for the past 12 months shows that globally, about 51% of users access the internet with mobile devices (chiefly smartphones), and 46% use desktop or laptop computers. However, in Europe, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, the balance is more heavily weighted towards computer usage than mobile, compared to the global percentages. In Asia, the trend is the other way around, with far more people using mobile phones to access the internet (60%) than desktop or laptop computers.

A survey conducted by Pew Research in 2019 in 11 emerging economies around the world showed that smartphone and social media use were “heavily intertwined.” The results also showed that smartphone users have broader social networks and are significantly more likely to interact with people of different religions and backgrounds than non-smartphone users. Pew found that smartphones and social media use may be expanding people’s horizons in the developing world. But their research also shows that these technologies have resulted in wider divisions between people with different political views rather than in more openness to others in different groups.

Public relations professionals must understand how their audiences access and use social media to target them most efficiently.

The chart below is a summary of some key questions we asked. Following that is a summary of trends by country for the eight countries we studied.

Social Media Trends in Asia and Oceania
  South Korea India Australia New Zealand
Are people worried about misinformation (errors) in social media? Extremely Somewhat A little Somewhat
Are people worried about disinformation (deliberately misleading errors) in social media? Extremely Somewhat A little Somewhat
B2C marketing via social media? Yes, ads Yes Yes Yes
B2B marketing via social media? Yes, ads Yes Yes Yes, but only on LinkedIn
Which social media are increasing in influence? YouTube LinkedIn & Twitter Instagram & TikTok TikTok
Which social media are decreasing in influence? blogs Facebook & Instagram Twitter Facebook & Twitter
How much do social media influence consumer attitudes towards corporations? Some Heavy Some Some
How much do social media influence consumer attitudes & buying of products? Some Some Heavy Heavy
How much do social media influence consumer attitudes towards politics? Heavy Heavy Little Heavy
Has social media use increased / will it increase more during the COVID-19 pandemic? Yes Yes, both numbers of users & engagement Yes Very minor if  any
Do PR professionals use social media to contact journalists? Not to pitch stories Yes, to pitch stories Yes, to pitch stories Not much

Now let’s take a look at social media trends by market.


Chaittali Dave, manager at Nucleus Public Relations, headquartered in Bangalore with offices in Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata, gave us valuable input on social media trends in India.

Highest popularity networks with different age groups in India
Age group Top platforms /  Other Platforms used
Teens to mid-20s (Gen Z) Instagram TikTok
Mid-20s to 40 (Gen Y) Instagram Snapchat LinkedIn
40-55 (Gen X) Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
56 and up (Baby Boomers) WhatsApp Facebook LinkedIn
Over 75 Facebook WhatsApp

Dave comments, “The government banned TikTok in India on June 29th. That left a huge gap for social media users in their teens to mid-20s. Home-grown apps are trying to fill the gap with home-grown apps, but there is no clear winner yet.” She notes that senior citizens in India are very active users of Facebook and WhatsApp. “They form a large part of the user base for both of those platforms.”

According to Dave, companies in India use social media for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing and public relations. B2C marketers most frequently use Instagram and Facebook, and B2B marketers use LinkedIn. “Social media is key to reputation and brand-building efforts for any brand,” she says. “It attracts significant budget, time, and attention from brands.”

Dave says LinkedIn and Twitter are gaining influence in India, and Facebook and Instagram are losing influence. She says this is due to changing algorithms and rules, and decreasing credibility with the younger audiences as fake news rises.

Dave says very few people in India are worried about data use by social media companies resulting in a loss of privacy. “The popularity of TikTok and Facebook in India proves that not many are concerned about data security.”

“In the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of social media in India has increased, and engagement has gone up drastically,” Dave remarks. “However, the lockdown and self-isolation and the loneliness that results are also causing people to become less vigilant about data security,” she says. “People are willing to try a lot of new things irrespective of data security.”

In India, public relations professionals use LinkedIn quite a lot for publishing articles. is getting more attention for this purpose as well. “However, blogs on media portals continue to be the most popular forums,” she adds.

Republic of Korea

Nancy C.J. Choi, president of CJ’s World Public Relations & Communications in Seoul, was very helpful as our source for social media trends in South Korea.

Highest popularity networks with different age groups in the Republic of Korea
Age group Top platforms /  Other Platforms used
Teens to mid-20s (Gen Z) YouTube Instagram
Mid-20s to 40 (Gen Y) YouTube Instagram Never Post
40-55 (Gen X) YouTube Facebook Never Post
56 and up (Baby Boomers) YouTube Facebook Blogs
Over 75 YouTube

In South Korea, internet connectivity is everywhere, all the time. According to a Pew Research report earlier this year, this country has the world’s top internet connectivity rate, with 98% of its people connected to the internet. Also, 90% own smartphones, the highest percentage of smartphone owners in the world. As noted earlier, smartphone ownership is heavily related to social media use, and 78% of South Koreans use social media. Their social media preferences include Korean social platform Naver Post and Western platforms YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. (Naver Post is a product of Naver Corporation, which also has the most popular search engine in the country. Naver is often referred to as “the Google of South Korea.”)

In South Korea, people of all ages use social media, including seniors. “YouTube is most popular among senior citizens,” comments Choi.

In terms of marketing, Choi says it’s mostly B2C companies using social media in Korea, through advertising. The most popular choices for B2C marketing are Naver Post and YouTube. B2B marketers sometimes use Naver Post and also post ads on blogs.

YouTube is the platform increasing most in influence, says Choi. “Blogs are losing influence here,” she adds.

“While people here are huge social media users, many are also worried about their data privacy,” notes Choi. “South Koreans are extremely concerned about both misinformation and disinformation,” she adds.

Shopping on social media is increasing in South Korea, on platforms such as Naver and Daum, says Choi. “Indirect advertising on social media is causing quite a few complaints,” she comments.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn and Medium are not being used much by PR professionals for getting content published, Choi says. PR professionals do not pitch journalists on social media, although Choi says PR people and journalists sometimes exchange information on social media.


We are grateful for data on social media trends in Australia provided by Dionne Taylor, founder and director of Polkadot Communications in Sydney.

Highest popularity networks with different age groups in Australia
Age group Top platforms /  Other Platforms used
Teens to mid-20s (Gen Z) TikTok Snapchat Instagram
Mid-20s to 40 (Gen Y) Instagram Facebook LinkedIn
40-55 (Gen X) Facebook
56 and up (Baby Boomers) Facebook
Over 75 Facebook

In Australia, 88% of the population is connected to the internet, according to research company Statista. Of those, 45.3% connect on a laptop or desktop compared to 47.5% who use smartphones.  According to Hootsuite’s Digital in 2020 report, 71% of Australians use social media.

While Facebook has the most active users among Australians as a whole, its popularity is generational. It is the platform of choice among those over 40. Says Taylor, “TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are the top choices of teenagers. As for 20 to 40 year-olds, Instagram is by far the leader. Some in this age group also use Facebook for social networking, and LinkedIn for professional reasons.”

Taylor comments that Twitter is not as popular in Australia as in many other countries. “TikTok was more popular but has declined over the last few months due to security concerns,” she adds.

As in most other places, social media isn’t as popular among seniors as with younger people. However, Taylor notes, “Those ages 56 to 74 use platforms like Facebook to reconnect with old school/university friends and family around the world.”

Australian marketers use social media extensively for B2C. “Some brands are built in Australia on the success of their social media engagement and following,” Taylor comments. She says Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms most used for B2C marketing, often with shoppable links. B2B marketers use LinkedIn.

“Instagram is increasing in influence in Australia,” Taylor says. “Shoppable and trackable links used in B2C selling are causing this growing influence. If and when TikTok adds shoppable links, we expect awareness and usage of it to increase.” Twitter is declining in influence, she adds. “It just never took off here.”

Taylor notes that social media heavily influence Australians’ attitudes about products and product purchasing. According to Global Web Index,  27% of Australian consumers learn about new brands via social media ads. Social media also influences consumer attitudes towards companies in Australia somewhat, but it has little influence on politics, she adds.

Public relations professionals in Australia often use social media to connect with and pitch stories to journalists. “We usually use Instagram direct messages to contact them,” Taylor comments. “Journalists generally respond well to this contact method.”

New Zealand

Our thanks to Fred Russo, director, Botica Butler Raudon Partners & Passion PR in Auckland, for his insights into social media trends among Kiwi users.

Highest popularity networks with different age groups in New Zealand
Age group Top platforms /  Other Platforms used
Teens to mid-20s (Gen Z) TikTok Instagram Facebook
Mid-20s to 40 (Gen Y) Instagram Facebook LinkedIn
40-55 (Gen X) Instagram Facebook LinkedIn
56 and up (Baby Boomers) Facebook
Over 75 Unusual to use social media

 Russo reports that TikTok is expanding rapidly in New Zealand. “Facebook seems to be waning ever so slightly,” he adds.  “Journalists use Twitter to talk to each other, but Twitter never really took hold well here.  People lurk on Twitter, but there’s not a lot of engagement.” Russo attributes a drop off in Facebook use to New Zealanders’ loss of trust in the platform.  He notes, “There is ever-increasing backlash against Facebook because New Zealanders see it as damaging to local democracy.

Russo says it is unusual, but not rare, for New Zealanders over 75 to use social media. “A lot of aged care providers are teaching seniors how to use it.”

B2C marketers use social media extensively to market their products,  says Russo.  “Facebook and Instagram get the most attention from marketers of consumer products,” he comments. “LinkedIn is the platform most B2B marketers use. LinkedIn is very strong here.”

As in the U.S. and some other countries, Kiwis worry about privacy and the use of their data by social media companies, but they enjoy social media, so they keep on using it. “There’s a lot of research here that shows Kiwis are willing to part with data as long as they derive value from that data,” he adds.

Social media heavily influences New Zealanders’ opinions of products and their purchasing of products, and some influence on their attitudes towards individual companies, Russo says. “This is especially true with products in the beauty, fashion and FMCG [fast moving consumer goods] sectors,” he remarks. He adds that shopping links on Instagram have been effective, and he believes that shopping on social media is here to stay.

Social media also heavily influences New Zealanders’ political views. Russo says Kiwis are somewhat worried about misinformation and disinformation on social media.

Unlike all other countries we surveyed, New Zealanders’ use of social media has seen minor, if any change, since the global COVID-19 pandemic. “That’s because we don’t have a COVID-19 problem here!” he explains.

Public relations professionals who want to publish essays and articles by executives turn to and SubStack, Russo says. “Newsletters are also very popular here,” he adds. Australian PR people do not use social media to contact and pitch journalists, except for LinkedIn in some cases.