Yesterday’s announcement that Microsoft was purchasing LinkedIn came as a surprise to many. But our mid-week Chart of the Day shows one of the reasons why the business social network is a smart purchase for Microsoft.

LinkedIn has seen steady and consistent growth in its member numbers over the past few years. While in 2012 one fifth had a LinkedIn account, the network can now boast that almost 40% of internet users are members. And with work-related networking becoming an ever more important motivation for social media usage, LinkedIn should be confident that this positive trajectory will continue.

Perhaps most important here, however, is LinkedIn’s appeal to higher-income networkers. Among the top 25% income segment, it’s close to half who are LinkedIn members, giving some context to the hefty price tag that was attached to the platform and why it’s an obvious acquisition for Microsoft as it looks to target these segments with cloud-based professional solutions.

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Felim is Senior Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex. He oversees the Trends team who produce a wide range of off-the-shelf reports and infographics along with our Chart of the Day series. Moving to GWI after completing a PhD, Felim specializes in writing about online consumer behaviors and digital trends.

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