Social networks received more UK traffic than webmail services for the first time last month, according to Hitwise.

In October, the top 25 social network sites received 5.17% of all UK internet visits, compared to 4.98% for email services like Hotmail, Gmail and others.


The figures show that a growing number of UK web users are now choosing to communicate with friends and contacts through social networks' messaging services rather than email.

In general, younger web users prefer social networks to webmail, while older surfers spend more time on email.

Hitwise's Robin Goad compared visitor data for Facebook and Windows Live Mail and found that Facebook attracted more users from the 18-34 age group.

Related stories:
Study: Facebook is now the UK’s biggest social network 
Social networks drive more traffic to retailers

Graham Charlton

Published 8 November, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (2)

Markus Karlsson

Markus Karlsson, CEO | Founder at Affino

This is a phenomenal development in terms of how quickly user behavior has evolved over the past couple of years. As with many of these trends, the growth is lead by the younger generation, but this will extend to all age groups over the coming years as the utility of Facebook and other social networks becomes apparent.

An interesting development to note is the actual drop in usage for the webmail sites, which is the most significant in a while. This is simply happening because a great deal of this communication is now happening directly on the social networking sites and to a certain extent the webmail clients are becoming less used.

Another development is the increased utilty of services such as Gmail which now, rather than forcing you online to check and send your messages allows you to use IMAP, the Deskbar and lots of other utitities which present your inbox and even index it for searching. This means decreased website usage even though the actual usage may well be increasing.

over 10 years ago


Sean McManus

The key advantage of sites like Facebook over webmail is that messages come from authenticated senders. It solves the spam problem because you only get messages from people you know. Of course, it has the problem that you can only accept messages from people you already know and can't even receive transactional emails there. But it's the closest thing we have to a working authenticated sender email communications network today.

over 10 years ago

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