YouTubeThe percentage of Americans uploading or posting videos online more than doubled in the past four years, increasing from 14% to 31%, and there are strong links between these Internet activities, age and income, according to a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

At 41%, younger U.S. adult Internet users (ages 18-29) are twice as likely to post and share videos online than their older counterparts.” Thirty-six percent of 30-49 year old U.S. Internet users post or share videos online. That compares to just 50% of U.S. Internet users age 50 and older who said they do so, according to the Pew project’s “Online Video 2013” report.

Similarly, online U.S. adults in higher income households – with annual incomes of $75,000 or more – are “particularly likely to post or share videos online when compared with those in households with annual incomes below $50,000.”

Also among the findings in the Pew project’s 2013 report:

  • Upload a video to the Internet so others can watch or download it—27% of adult Internet users have done this
  • Post videos to any website online that they, themselves, have taken or created—18% of adult Internet users have done this

The percentage of online adults in the U.S. downloading or watching videos also increased in the past four years, increasing from 69% to 78%, according to Pew’s findings. This includes online adults who said they do at least one of the following, Pew highlights:

  • Watch videos on a video-sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo —72% of adult internet users have done this
  • Watch videos online, including on social network sites or using mobile apps—56% of adult internet users have done this
  • Download video files onto a computer or cell phone so they can play them at any time they want—36% of adult internet users have done this

Rates of online video watching are highest among those 18-49, those with higher levels of education, and those living households with higher incomes.

Video sharing sites such as YouTube have been key enablers and drivers of these trends, according to Pew project researchers. Seventy-two percent of online U.S. adults use video sharing sites today as compared to 33% in 2006.

What Are We Watching?
Examining the genres online video viewers are watching, Pew researchers found that comedy and educational videos are among the most widely viewed, which matched 2009 survey results. Fifty-seven percent of online U.S. adults said they watch comedy/humorous videos and 50% said they watch educational videos online. How-to videos joined these two in the latest survey, with 56% of online adults saying they watched them online. Music video viewing registered the largest growth in viewership between 2009 and 2013, rising from 32% to 50% of all online U.S. adults.

Different genres also appeal to different demographic groups, Pew researchers found. Online video viewers 18-29 are more likely than their 50+ counterparts to watch music videos online (81%:39%), comedy videos (82%:61%), and animation videos (47%:20%). Male online video viewers are more likely than females to watch sports videos (49%:23%), political videos (40%:30%), and adult videos (25%:8%).

Thirty-five percent of those who have posted videos online – either their own or others’ – said they have posted or shared a video online hoping that it would be seen by many people or go “viral,” which works out to 11% of all adult U.S. Internet users. Only 5% reported regretting having posted a video online.

Impact of Social Networks and Mobility
Growing use of social network sites, such as Facebook, as well as the proliferation of Internet-enabled cell phones have contributed to the growing number of online American adults posting, sharing and viewing online videos. With 72% now using social networking sites with online video watching and sharing:

  • 71% of adults who post videos online do so on social networking sites
  • 58% of adults who watch online videos do so on social networking sites

Cell phone penetration among U.S. adults has reached 91%, Pew notes. Among them, according to Pew’s survey results:

  • 41% use their phones to watch video
  • 40% use their phones to record video
  • 20% use their phones to post videos online

More recently, the growing popularity of mobile apps has also been contributing to rising online video uploading, sharing and viewing. According to Pew’s latest survey:

  • 23% of adults who post videos online do so using a mobile app such as Vine
  • 17% of adults who watch videos online do so using a mobile app