The Mercer Group Inc. survey released on Wednesday showed that social networking is on the rise, up 7% year-over-year in 2016, with the number of people actively using social media increasing in the U.S. and Canada, even as the number sharing content increases.
“Social media is really becoming the dominant tool of choice for many people,” said Michael Vazquez, chief executive of Mercer.
“We think social networking will be one of the most significant social media platforms in the next 10 years.”
While the growth of social networks has been driven by online shopping, the company also saw the growth in social networking apps and services.
Mercer said in a statement that while the number and types of apps are not yet available in all countries, it expects to see an increase in those services as technology continues to evolve.
The survey also shows that social media users are increasingly accessing online dating sites, where they are sharing pictures of their loved ones, instead of just their own photos.
In 2016, the average user was posting to an average of 2,000 social networking sites.
In 2018, the median was 3,500.
And this year, the most popular site was Tinder, with more than 7 million members in the United States and Canada.
While it is unclear whether these trends will continue into the future, the growth has been great enough to draw in investors.
The company is now valued at $10 billion, up from $7 billion a year ago.
Mercer also said it is also increasing its investment in other companies, including Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Spotify.
The firm says it has spent $1 billion since 2010 to expand its network.
A growing number of investors are also jumping into the space.
In October, Snap Inc., a social media startup, said it would buy LinkedIn Corp. for $26 billion.
In November, Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. were also reportedly in talks about buying the company.
In January, LinkedIn said it was also considering buying Instagram.
And last month, Google Inc. said it had bought a minority stake in Snap Inc.