We are living in a selfie-obsessed generation – there are no two ways about it. According to a survey conducted by a Boston-based teeth whitening company, millennials took nearly 26000 selfies during their lifetimes (on average). A large chunk of the total time spent by users with their smartphones is on taking pictures with the phone camera – and a high percentage of these pictures are…you guessed it…selfies. In what follows, we will do a roundup of some of the latest selfie trends, figures and estimates:
- Total number of selfies per day – Well over 1 million selfies are taken everyday by people, using either iPhones or Android devices. One out of every 3 individuals between the age of 18 to 30 takes selfies on a regular basis. Rather predictably, millennials (Generation Y citizens, if you so like) are the most active selfie-takers in the world – although older people are in love with selfies too.
- Selfies in different countries – Although Makati City (in Phillipines) holds the unofficial tag of being the ‘selfie capital of the world’, the most selfies/day are taken by smartphone users in Australia. The second and third spots are taken up by the United States and Canada respectively. A recent report revealed that around 67% of all Australian women post selfies on social media regularly. Makati City’s claim to fame as the ‘selfie capital’ is based on the fact that the city boasts of the highest percentage of people clicking selfies (250 out of 100000).
- Selfies on Instagram – The total number of selfies shared on Instagram is well in excess of 250 million, as per reports from mobile app developers and researchers. Over 58425000 pictures are posted with the ‘#selfie’ hashtag. Let’s just say that ‘#selfie’ is easily one of the most popularly used tags on social media at present – particularly among the 18-24 year olds.
Note: Nearly one out every four members of the so-called Generation X love taking selfies, while nearly 10% of ‘baby boomers’ have also caught on this fad. These figures, however, appear insignificant, when compared with the fact that over 55% millennials are fond of self-portraits.
- The use of photo-editing software – The widespread use of mobile photo-editing apps and online software clearly indicates that most people are after that elusive ‘perfect selfie’ – that they can share on their social media profiles. 37% of the respondents to the survey said that they alter their selfies with software in some way or the other. Interestingly though, only 14% of all selfies are digitally enhanced – not a particularly high figure.
- Rise of the ‘Planet of the Selfies’ – It is difficult to put a tab on exactly when the selfie-phenomenon started in full throttle across the globe. However, a Guardian report suggests that the popularity of selfie-taking started burgeoning from 2010 – the year when iPhone 4 (the first iPhone model to have a selfie camera) was launched. With front camera capabilities becoming more and more advanced in both Android phones and iPhones, it’s hardly a surprise that selfie-addicts (narcissists, somewhat) are absolutely loving it.
- The top selfie poses – If you thought that selfies were all about pouting and snapping, you are, sadly, well behind the times. The ‘Duck Face’ pose – a long-standing favourite among selfie-lovers is gradually giving way to the ‘Fish Gape’ facial expression. The ‘Frog Face’ and the ‘Sparrow Face’ are some other fairly popular selfie poses. Now whether these poses are indeed attractive is a matter of subjective opinion…let’s not enter a debate regarding that here!
- Selfies on Snapchat – Snapchat, the much-loved social media and instant messaging tool among young adults, serves as a great platform for sharing selfies. Nearly 78% of college girls share their self-portraits on Snapchat – although for guys, the figure is quite a bit lower (50%). In an average week, around 9 selfies are taken, and about 7-8 minutes are spent to post each picture on social media. Young women (in the 16-25 age group) while away a remarkable 5 hours (approx) every week, for taking selfies. In a year, nearly 55 hours are taken up collectively by the selfie-taking activity.
- The selfie-related gender bias – None to speak of, really. Studies conducted by mobile app development agencies showed that the percentage of males and females who took selfies were almost similar (50% and 52% respectively). However, there is a difference when it comes to the use of photo-editing filters and other such tools. While 13% of the female respondents admitted to ‘touching’ up their selfies after clicking , nearly 35% of males use software to make their selfies ‘better’. Maybe the males are more concerned about their selfies, or maybe women are just better one-shot selfie-takers!
- Selfies on social media – We have already talked about how college-goers are enthusiastically sharing their selfies on Snapchat. The platform, however, is far from being the most preferred social media channel for posting selfies. That position would go to Facebook (with a 48% share). Text messages and WhatsApp take up second position, with 27% selfies being shared through them. Twitter (9%) comes in next, and Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest follow.
- Do everyone love the selfie game? – Not quite, but selfies are pretty close to being universally loved. In the survey by Luster, a whopping 95% of respondents revealed that they have taken at least 1 selfie in their lifetimes. The general feel among millennials is that selfies are the best way to chronicle their life events on social media websites. A beach holiday or a birthday party, for instance, seem ‘incomplete’ if selfies (and a lot of them, for that matter) are not taken.
- Types of self-portraits – Not every type of selfies is…well…called a ‘selfie’. There are different names for the different types of selfies taken by the owners of iPhones and Android phones. For example, a ‘Delfie’ refers to a selfie taken with a pet dog, an ‘Ussie’ is a selfie of two people, and a ‘Felfie’ is a picture of your face with a farm in the background. The ‘No Make Up’ selfie has become quite a rage among female celebrities, ‘Helfies’ are taken to show off cool hairstyles (the face can very well be hidden in them), and ‘belfies’ are often clicked to show off…ahem…shapely posteriors. A ‘Groupie’ (or ‘Groupfie’) is, of course, the picture of a group of people – with one of them having his/her arm rather awkwardly outstretched.
- The phenomenon called selfie sticks – Over the last couple of years, selfie sticks have been one of the top Christmas gifts around the world. It all started from the fall of 2014 (the year when selfie sticks made it in the list of Time Magazine’s 25 best inventions of year), when selfie-stick related online searches rose by a whopping 690%. In the United Kingdom, nearly 100 selfie sticks are sold from the eBay portal every hour. Between September and November 2014, the sale of selfie sticks on Amazon UK increased by almost 303%, with the next few months carrying on the momentum. Call them ‘sticks of narcissism’ as much as you like – but selfie sticks are here to stay (along with other selfie accessories).
- Celebs on the selfie-bandwagon – Coming across selfies of Justin Bieber a bit too often? The young singing sensation is only the 5th most prolific selfie-sharing celebrity in the world though. Kylie Jenner and Snoop Dogg are the two biggest celebs on the selfie bandwagon, with Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian (surprised to see her slightly down in the list?) taking up the third and fourth spots respectively. The young generation is only taking a leaf out of the celebs’ book, and trying to capture their many emotions through selfies.
- Selfies – The Dangerous Addiction – In 2015, 8 people died from shark attacks. Here comes the alarming fact – during the year, as many as 12 people died while taking selfies. Many 18-24 year olds (in particular) border on carelessness while taking their own portraits, leading to a wide range of fatalities – right from electrocution and bits from poisonous animals, to serious falls and automobile runover incidents. The ‘I Am Driving’ selfie fad is also making drivers distracted while moving along roads. Mobile software and app developers repeatedly caution people to be very careful while taking selfies.
On average, the number of times smartphones are checked by owners every day is above one hundred billion. A fairly large part of that is for clicking selfies and sharing them on social media. In the last few quarters, mobile app companies have tried to cash in on this trend – by releasing many Android and iPhone image-editing apps. Selfies are fun, light-hearted and (if proper care is maintained) safe – and they have certainly caught on the imagination of mobile-users all over.