Home Cyberpsychology & Technology Porn Sites Still Outperform Major Digital Media in Global and US Traffic, New Study Shows

Porn Sites Still Outperform Major Digital Media in Global and US Traffic, New Study Shows

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A decade ago, a Huffington Post article claimed that pornography websites received more monthly visitors than Netflix, Amazon, and X (formerly known as Twitter) combined. The source was a startup pornography company, raising questions about the credibility of the claim. However, a recent study using Similarweb’s “Top Websites” tool has found that pornography remains a significant player in the digital media landscape, even in 2023. The findings were published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The study examined website traffic data for the world’s top 50 websites in April 2023. It found that the top three globally ranked pornography sites –xvideos.com, pornhub.com, and xnxx.com – were more highly ranked than several household names like Amazon, Netflix, and Yahoo. The disparity in total visits was often substantial. For instance, Xvideos had 700 million more total visits than Amazon and significantly more than TikTok, OpenAI, LinkedIn, Netflix, and The Weather Channel.

The study also looked at other metrics like bounce rates, pages per visit, and average visit duration. Interestingly, the top four pornography sites had the lowest bounce rates, indicating that visitors were more likely to engage with multiple pages. Xnxx.com had the highest pages per visit result, and Xvideos had a higher average visit duration than most non-pornographic sites, except for Twitch and Reddit.

When focusing on US traffic, the study found that Pornhub, Xvideos, and Xnxx had higher traffic rank scores than all non-pornographic sites, except for Amazon and Yahoo. This suggests that pornography remains popular in the US, both in terms of reach and engagement.

The study also compared Similarweb’s global audience composition data for Pornhub with the General Social Survey’s (GSS) self-reported data on x-rated movie consumption. Despite different methodologies, the data showed considerable overlap. Men comprised nearly 80% of Pornhub’s global audience, while around 64% of those who answered affirmatively to the GSS’s x-rated movie question were men. The age-group trends were also similar, with the percentage of consumers increasing from the 18–24 age group to the 25–34 age group, then gradually declining among older age groups.

The study suggests that pornography remains a highly popular media genre, both globally and in the U.S., despite the plethora of digital media options available today. It also provides some reassurance about the validity of self-reported data on pornography use, as the Similarweb and GSS data showed significant overlap in gender and age demographics.

The findings indicate that rather than being a marginal area of interest, pornography should be a central unit of analysis for communication scientists and media psychologists. The study also highlights the need for further research to understand the social, psychological, and cultural implications of pornography’s enduring popularity.

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