Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.

All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.

Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.

Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.

Social Media
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.

However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.

Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.

Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.

Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.

Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.

Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.

Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.

The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.

Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.

The Future
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,

How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?

The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.

Stay tuned…

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  • scottmonty

    Interesting, but the regional data mask some of the significant country-specific data that are out there. For example, Asia shows a penetration of just 28% but markets like Indonesia have a penetration of nearly 100%. South America / Brazil is another example. Has the team made any effort to do a deep dive by country?

  • Robin Grant

    Hey Scott – good to have you here!

    We’re are doing some deep dives by country, mostly focusing on the Asian markets.

    So far in this series, we’ve covered Asia as a whole, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, a href=””>Bangladesh, Pakistan and most recently, China, all of which you can find here –

    Other country reports will be following shortly, but you can also find the first series of country reports we did at the end of 2011 here – – including reports for India and Indonesia.

  • scottmonty

    Great! Will look forward to checking them out.

  • onlinebusiness


  • haris awais

    due to a huge numbers of people are joining social and internet to fullfil their need so as opportunities are growing more in this sector , as competition is increasing to ,only seo and social can help in order to bring awareness and rankings

  • jack hill

    social media does include mobile apps too which are viral in these days, like vine,whatsapp these type of apps are a strong opportunity for the marketers to build their marketing base

    hill jack
    author of

  • Harira Ijaz

    I agree smartphone industry has penetrated so much into the lives of people that today it’s habbit to use smartphone for meeting day to day tasks,so marketers have to move towards this trend

  • Lisa Anderson

    Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are massively important to to social media it isn’t a surprise they are growing so rapidly with the coverage they get and marketing elsewhere.

  • Sally Marie

    The big companies have the money to market the way they do, the smaller companies must go to a reputable company to make sure the SEO is done correctly.

  • Jason Marnie

    This is only because they are the brilliant hype now, in another few years time it will be something else.

  • Yousaf Bhattiiii

    Hey its intersting .. thanks