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Brief Published: 5 Nov 2020

Snap’s 2020 Friendship Report Unpicks Relationship Trends

Friendships are changing as socialisation moves digital-first

As we explain in New-Era Living: Relationships, friendships are changing as socialisation moves digital-first. US social media platform Snap explores the consequences in its 2020 Friendship Report, which surveyed Snap users worldwide. Here are the highlights.

  • Covid-19’s Friendship Impact: When asked if the pandemic had changed their relationships with friends, the majority (67%) said close friendships remained unchanged. But for the 33% who did notice a shift, 53% felt their bonds deteriorate.

    Regardless, 45% of respondents said they felt distant from their friends due to the decrease of face-to-face, in-person interactions. Yet nearly everyone agreed that social media was a lifeline for sustaining connection – only 7% thought digital communication hasn’t helped them stay in touch with friends.

  • Life Circumstances Dictate Cohesion: The isolating effect of working from home (see New-Era Living: Relationships) was reflected in responses to questions about how major life events impact friendships. Only 27% of people surveyed said that getting married improved friendship quality – similar to starting a new romantic relationship, which only 25% thought had a positive impact. Yet job losses and financial hardship (experienced by many during the pandemic) were seen as the most harmful to relationships, with 51% saying that both weakened bonds.

  • Remote Reconnection: Despite the fragility of friendships, respondents reported an overall high desire to reconnect with lost contacts. In the UK, 70% of users said they want to rekindle a lost friendship, rising to 77% in India (the global average was 66%).

    To increase connection remotely, 40% of Snap users said they rely on sending friends photos of shared experiences. Meanwhile, 31% of users said gifs and memes are useful for reconnecting, reinforcing the brand appeal of memetic content that we mention in Pop Culture Pulse: Digitally Native Economies.