Here are all of the posts tagged ‘India’.
It’s been another year of bumper growth for all things digital in India, with the latest in We Are Social’s series of studies into Digital, Social & Mobile usage around the world revealing that over a quarter of the world’s second largest nation now uses the internet on a regular basis:
Here are the key data headlines:
- Internet Users: 350 million, up 44% since our last report in July 2014
- Social Media Users: 134 million, up 26% in the past year
- Unique Mobile Users: 590 million – a penetration rate of 46%
- Mobile Internet Users: 159 million – 45% of all internet users
- Mobile Social Media Users: 97 million, up 5% since July 2014
Read on for our analysis of what these numbers mean in context.
Internet in India
The Internet and Mobile Association of India recently announced that internet users in India now exceed 350 million; a considerable jump since We Are Social’s previous report on digital use in India in July 2014, when the number was just 243 million.
This 44% growth is particularly encouraging, as it takes internet penetration past 25% for the first time. Our sense is that the impressive growth figure may be largely due to more accurate reporting, rather than a sudden surge in new internet users, but it’s clear that increasing mobile internet access has also contributed to an acceleration of internet adoption across the country:
Internet access in India still isn’t evenly distributed though, with rural users accounting for barely 17% of India’s internet community, despite representing more than 70% of the country’s population:
This disparity is changing thanks to mobile, but in contrast to most other developing nations, mobile access still accounts for less than half of India’s internet connections:
The balance will likely tip in the coming months though, with projections from the IAMAI and KPMG indicating that mobile internet will account for nearly two-thirds of all internet connections by 2017.
This shift is clear in terms of share of activity too; more than two-thirds of the web pages served in India in the past month went to desktops or laptops, but that figure is down 6% versus the same period last year:
India’s connection speeds remain disappointingly slow, however, with barely 10% of the country’s fixed-line connections achieving broadband status. The picture is slightly better for mobile users, but India still sits well below the global average reported in Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet report:
Despite these slow speeds – or perhaps because of them – Indian internet users spend more than their global peers using the internet, with the average internet user spending nearly 5 hours online every day.
Social media use accounts for more than half of that time, with social media users spending 26% more time engaging with their networks than watching television:
Social Media in India
Social media use continues to grow in India, but barely 10% of the country is currently ‘socially active':
The number of active users is increasing at a rate of roughly one every second, but even at that rate, it will take another 16 years before half the country’s population is using social media.
We suspect this will change quite considerably in the coming months though, largely due to a shift in behaviour related to mobile usage.
Facebook dominates today’s platform rankings in terms of monthly active users, but it’s worth highlighting that chat apps – and WhatsApp in particular – are already beginning to change the look of the social media landscape:
As mobile-focused internet connections claim a greater share of the overall user-base, we predict that these chat platforms will gain a much more important role in users’ lives – and therefore in marketers’ strategies.
This is where the biggest opportunity lies for internet and mobile companies in India; the company that can claim a disproportionate share of the nation’s burgeoning chat app user-base will be best placed to shape broader consumer behaviour – and revenues – on the internet.
It’s worth noting that non-mobile use of social media accounted for the majority of new users in the past year though, which we found quite surprising. Facebook recorded 28 million new users in India in the past year, but just 5 million of these – 18% – used mobile devices to access the service.
Overall, however, 72% of India’s social media users log in via mobile devices, and we predict that this proportion will increase in the coming months as mobile internet access accelerates further.
It’s also worth noting that the average social media user in India is considerably younger than the global average, with more than half of the platform’s Indian user base aged 23 or younger:
The numbers also show that men account for more than three-quarters of Facebook’s users – something we suspect is true of internet usage as a whole in India. This is something that we believe should be addressed urgently, whether that’s by government bodies or by the corporate world.
Providing women – everyone, for that matter – with better access to digital services has been shown to deliver significant societal benefits, so we believe that marketers should play a disproportionate role in helping to ensure that more women in India can access social and digital services.
In addition to the obvious benefits to the individual – better access to education, financial services and health information – such assistance should also help the marketer, providing a powerful, direct way to reach one of the world’s most untapped audiences.
Mobile in India
As is the case almost everywhere in the world today, mobile use is the big story in India’s digital scene, with 590 million people – almost half the country’s population – now owning a mobile device of some description.
Mobile subscriptions in India stand at 976 million, and with this figure climbing at a rate of roughly 3.5 new subscriptions every second, we fully expect that subscriptions will exceed 1 billion before the end of 2015:
As with internet use, however, mobile use is very unevenly distributed across the country, with considerably less than half of India’s rural population using mobile:
Even for those with a phone, the experience is still far from ideal. Smartphones are still very much in the minority, even when it comes to sales of new handsets:
This ratio has significant importance, as it is closely tied to the adoption of internet services and social media. More than three-quarters of the handsets in use in India today are of the more basic ‘feature phone’ variety, yet smartphones account for five times as much Facebook usage as feature phones do:
E-Commerce in India
Despite some great progress in recent months, e-commerce is still in its infancy in India. The value of online purchases in India totalled just US$12.5 billion in 2014 (INR 81,500 crore) – less than 3% of the value of China’s e-commerce market:
Encouragingly, however, more and more people are using internet-powered services to research products and purchase online, so we expect to see this number explode as mobile internet access, faster connectivity, and increased familiarity with online shopping combine in the coming months.
So what does all this mean for marketers? Here are our three key tips:
- Go Mobile: at least in the short-term, design all internet experiences to work via mobile devices and via relatively slow connections. Online video is definitely rising in popularity, but make sure that downloading it and watching it are even a possibility for your target audience.
- Be The Change: internet and social media access in India are considerably behind the global average, and this impacts marketers’ abilities to reach and engage key audiences. We recommend that brands use some of their marketing budgets to enable more people to access (faster) internet services, whether that’s by subsidising data plans, providing free internet services like internet.org, or by working with government bodies to bring internet access for all a step closer.
- Get Involved In E-Commerce Now: India’s e-commerce market may still be nascent, but now is the time to get involved. There are still many opportunities for brands to gain early mover advantage, and brands that can help e-commerce platforms in their growth stand to forge powerful relationships will stand them in great stead when the e-commerce revolution gathers pace.
Indian marketers looking for more tailored insights may also like to note that I’ll be presenting at the upcoming International Advertising Association Whats Coming Next conference, which takes place in Kochi, India, between September 3rd and 5th. You can find full details here.
If you’d like tailored advice on what these tips mean specifically for your brand, get in touch with our team in one of our 10 offices around the world for more information.
We’d like to offer our special thanks to GlobalWebIndex for allowing us to use their data in this report. We’d also like to thank the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Ericsson, GSMA Intelligence, StatCounter and Akamai for the public data they share that makes these reports possible. For more details on data sources, please see the full report.
Continuing our series of reports into the Social, Digital and Mobile landscapes of countries around the world, today we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for India.
You may find it useful to put these numbers into context by comparing them to those for other Asian countries in our APAC report, where you’ll also be able to compare today’s stats to India’s January 2014 data.
India’s digital landscape is evolving fast, but overall penetration remains low in the world’s second most populous country, with fewer than 1 in 5 Indians using the Internet in July 2014.
Internet use appears to be accelerating though, with the latest figures indicating 30 million new users since January alone – an increase of 14% in just 6 months.
Social media use is also growing, with Facebook alone adding 16 million new users since January – that’s roughly one new user every second.
The picture for mobile is a little more complex though, with the latest data suggesting a drop in the total number of active subscriptions.
However, this is likely due to SIM consolidation; the average Indian mobile user currently manages 2.5 active connections (SIMs), but as people increasingly switch to smartphones with data plans that enable more cost-effective communication between different mobile networks, it’s likely that people will ‘drop’ some of these secondary (and tertiary) subscriptions.
The top story in this report is the dominance of mobile connectivity in India.
70% of internet page views in India originate from mobile devices, while 87% of all Facebook users access the platform through mobile:
Crucially, it’s this mobile connectivity that’s driving India’s digital growth, and the majority of new internet users access exclusively through mobile.
However, connection speeds remain disappointingly slow in India, with Akamai stating that the country has the slowest internet in Asia. Average connection speeds in India are a paltry 1.7Mbps. Broadband connections (i.e. connections of 4 Mbps or higher) are still relatively scarce, and account for less than 5% of all internet connections. Connections of 10Mbps or more are limited to just 0.7% of all users.
Despite these slow speeds, however, Internet users in India spend almost 5 hours on the net every day, with 40% of that time spent on social media:
Despite being Facebook’s second largest market worldwide, social media penetration in India remains at just 8%.
As with overall internet use, mobile drives social media usage, with almost 9 in 10 Facebook users accessing the platform via mobile:
It’s worth noting that 30 million people in India access Facebook through a feature phone (i.e. non-‘smartphone’ devices).
66 million people access Facebook via smartphones, with 60 million of these – 91% – accessing via Android handsets. 4.6 million access via iOS (i.e. Apple devices), while Windows OS accounts for 3.6 million users:
These numbers suggest that at least 1.5 million Indian user accounts access Facebook via multiple mobile operating systems, indicating that multiple SIM usage occurs even amongst smartphone owners. Meanwhile, around 4 million users access Facebook across both feature phones and smartphone devices.
Samsung claims the lion’s share of Facebook mobile users, with 32 million users accessing the platform via one of the Korean manufacturer’s devices. Nearly 18 million Indian users access Facebook via Nokia devices.
Critically, our research suggests that much of this mobile social activity takes place in browsers rather than via native apps – an important point to note for marketers when planning their social content strategies.
Google+ appears to be India’s second most popular social platform, with 35% of internet users claiming to have signed in at least once in the past 30 days.
Twitter and LinkedIn follow, while Orkut still appears in India’s top 5 platforms (this will change by September, however, when Google shutters its original social network):
There are just short of 350 million unique mobile users in India, with each user maintaining an average of 2.54 active connections:
Smartphones are driving the new handset market, although feature phones still dominate everyday usage.
Moreover, almost all mobile contracts in India are ‘pay-as-you-go’ (i.e. pre-paid), and fewer than 10% of users have access to 3G networks:
Despite this, 95% of smartphone users are searching for local information via their portable devices, and 54% claim to have made a purchase via mobile:
Entertainment and social media lead activities on smartphones, with video particularly popular. However, it’s worth noting that most video viewing on mobile devices in India is driven by memory card transfer, rather than via internet streaming:
Following on from We Are Social’s hugely popular Social, Digital and Mobile Worldwide in 2014 report from earlier this month, we’re very pleased to share an even more detailed look at the online landscape around the Asia-Pacific region.
It also turns out that two weeks can make a big difference when it comes to online data; in the past 14 days, and with the help of some of the 200,000 people who’ve viewed our Global report, we’ve found some even fresher stats to the ones we published in our last report.
These new discoveries have had a particular impact on India’s stats, where figures for internet users have changed from 151 million to 213 million. Internet figures for Indonesia have also almost doubled, to 72.7 million.
These changes have had a significant impact on the regional and global totals too, so we’ll begin with a refreshed look at the stats from the very top.
The Global Picture
Following revisions to a number of countries, the number of worldwide internet users now exceeds 2.64 billion, representing global penetration of 37%:
Following our last report, we also received a number of queries regarding the difference between mobile subscriptions and actual mobile users, so we’re delighted to be able include a new chart comparing the two in this report.
We’ve teamed up with the wonderful team at GSMA Intelligence for this, and they’ve been kind enough to let us share this valuable data in the report – here’s the APAC picture:
In order to understand the context in which people use mobile devices, it’s also important to understand how people pay for their subscriptions (contracts), and whether they have access to potentially faster mobile data connections.
The chart below offers more detail on both these areas, detailing how many people have pre- vs post-paid contracts, and using 3G as a proxy for the likelihood people could access faster internet if they chose to take out a relevant mobile data plan:
Asia-Pacific In Context
APAC is home to almost 3.9 billion people, accounting for just under 55% of the total world population. The region hosts just under half the world’s Internet users, and 52.2% of the world’s active social media users:
click to enlarge
Although internet user data for a number of countries around the region hasn’t been updated as recently as we’d hoped, APAC has still shown impressive growth in recent months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 150 million new users since our previous report in October 2012 – many of which were in India and Indonesia:
However, internet access is still far from a universal reality around APAC, and penetration rates in some countries remain surprisingly low:
It’s interesting to see how the average number of hours spent on the internet varies around the region too, both in terms of desktop / laptop access, as well as the time spent on the mobile web:
It’s important to note that the figures in the chart above are based on claimed time spent on the internet, rather than on actual traffic. This has two important consequences:
- The data will, in part, reveal the story that people choose to tell about their internet use, rather than the exact number of minutes they spend connected
- However, in a similar way, this ‘claimed’ data helps to avoid over-counting internet usage when someone is connected to the internet, but not actually making use of it (e.g. the browser is open in the background while someone works on another, non-internet related application).
- There may also be some variations across cultures in what people consider ‘internet’ access. For example, someone who streams music through a service like Spotify for the whole day may not consider this ‘time spent on the internet’, even if we could argue the opposite is also true.
2013 was an impressive year of growth across almost every aspect of the social media world in APAC, with chat apps in particular seeing stunning growth thanks to platforms like WeChat, LINE, and Kakaotalk.
We’ve chose to focus on social networks for this report’s data though, as they continue to offer the greater opportunity for marketers.
User figures and penetration rates for social networks still vary hugely around the region, but the overall trend is definitely upwards (note that MAU stands for Monthly Active Users):
It’s worth highlighting that the figures for social media penetration often exceed those for internet penetration, especially in fast-evolving markets. There may be a number of reasons for this:
- Social media stats are almost always more up to date than those for internet usage, largely because they are collected by a commercial entity on an on-going basis and published at least quarterly to help with advertising sales. In Facebook’s case, the monthly active user figures are available in almost real-time.
- Many reports on internet usage and penetration omit mobile internet usage, meaning many mobile-only users aren’t included in the figures (partly because they’re more difficult to identify). In many emerging markets – particularly places like Indonesia or Myanmar – mobile-only use can account for a significant proportion of internet use. People accessing social media through mobile devices will be counted, however, meaning social media numbers are often a more accurate indication of actual internet use and penetration in these markets.
- On the other hand, some people may have multiple social media accounts on the same platform, leading to a slight skew in the data, although we don’t anticipate this is the main cause for the difference between internet and social media usage numbers.
We’ve also changed the way we report user numbers in this year’s report compared to our previous report in 2012, and we now only report monthly active user numbers (MAUs) for any given platform. This ensures a more reliable and actionable data set, and ensures organisations using the data have the most up-to-date picture of people’s preferences and behaviour throughout the region.
Facebook’s MAUs continued to grow across the region over the past year, adding 54 million by January 2014 in Asian countries alone (excluding countries in Oceania like Australia and New Zealand).
China’s Qzone added 25 million MAUs too, meaning that overall growth around the region is somewhere in the region of 80 million new active users – almost 10% growth year-on-year.
We opted not to include chat apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE and Kakaotalk in this year’s analysis for a couple of reasons:
- The way that people use these platforms remains largely one-to-one, so they offer less of an obvious mass engagement channel for brands compared to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Weibo (although we recongise that this is changing, especially with tweaks to WeChat’s platform);
- The companies who operate these platforms tend not to publish monthly active user figures, and where they do, they aren’t broken down by country, making it very difficult for us to attribute usage by country.
However, for handy reference, the global user figures for each of the region’s largest chat apps are as follows:
- WhatsApp: 400 million monthly active users worldwide
- WeChat (Weixin): 270 million monthly active users worldwide
- LINE: 300 million total registered users worldwide
- Kakaotalk: 130 million total registered users worldwide
We’re pleased to offer time spent on social media for many of the region’s larger economies too, thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex’s Active Usage: Time Spent study, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share. You can find out more about this study here.
As with the time spent on the internet chart above, this data is based on claimed usage rather than actual traffic information. This again means that data may be coloured by the story people wish to tell about themselves, but at the same time, it also helps to avoid over-counting time where people have social media open in the background.
Based on our qualitative research, many people keep social networks open throughout the day in a distinct browser tab or tool like Tweetdeck, but do not necessarily spend all that time actively engaging with the platform itself, so the data above should be used in conjunction with traffic-based numbers (where available) to paint a multi-dimensional picture of people’s behaviour.
It’s interesting to explore the above chart in the context of the societal norms of each country too; it appears that the time spent on social media is determined as much by a nation’s culture as it is by the speed or ease of internet access. In many countries where fast internet access is still a luxury, people still spend many hours engaging with social media, highlighting once again that social media are playing a huge part in the growth and evolution of the online landscape in APAC.
However, to enrich this story, it’s worth looking at the infrastructural elements too. Mobile devices play a huge role in Asia’s social media scene, so we’ve added an extra data set to this report to illustrate mobile social access in more detail:
The number of mobile subscriptions in APAC continue to grow steadily in the past 15 months, with Asian countries alone adding more than 200 million new subscriptions since our previous report in October 2012.
Although it’s likely that some of these new subscriptions constitute second subscriptions (e.g. an additional contract for work or personal use), the importance of mobile devices even in the region’s less developed nations highlights the critical role mobile plays in people’s daily lives in APAC.
While it can be tricky to identify the exact number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, we have identified reliable data for two important indicators that offer valuable insights: mobile broadband subscriptions, and people accessing social media through mobile devices:
It’s particularly interesting to note that the proportion of the population accessing social media through a mobile device is much higher than the penetration of mobile broadband, suggesting that many people continue to access social media through slower mobile connections.
You’ll find this data broken down for each country around the region in the full report.
The Individual Country Story
We’re delighted to announce that we now have social media and mobile data for every Asian country, as well as 4 key nations in Oceania.
Major additions to this year’s report are North Korea and Myanmar, and although the numbers aren’t likely to challenge China’s position as the dominant digital player in the region, it’s very exciting to see how online media are helping to open up some of the world’s most secretive nations.
In particular, Myanmar – or Burma, if you prefer – has surprised us with the sheer speed of growth, particularly when it comes to social media. From a country where Facebook was technically blocked barely 12 months ago, this Southeast Asian country now boasts well over 1 million Facebook users, and is still growing at an impressive rate:
Despite these impressive numbers though, this still represents a social media penetration of just 2% in Myanmar, so there’s clearly plenty more potential for growth as the country continues its journey towards a fully open approach to the internet.
Even mobile subscriptions struggle to reach double-digit penetration, while the internet – albeit based mostly on fixed-line figures – languishes at just 1%.
However, 2014 looks like a promising year for Myanmar’s online landscape, and we’re looking forward to plenty more good news from them in the months to come.
The story in North Korea remains less clear; with the internet still officially blocked in the world’s most reclusive nation, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what’s going on. However, Facebook themselves state that they now have 8,200 users within the North Asian state, 4,600 of whom access through mobile devices:
It’s unclear how many of these users are actually North Korean citizens though, and we suspect that a significant proportion may be foreign nationals based in the country.
However, the fact that it is even possible for these people to access Facebook from within North Korea represents a step forward compared to the situation this time last year, so we’ll take that as a glimmer of hope for 2014.
We’ve also included data for Timor-Leste, which, although still small in absolute numbers, represents another reason for optimism, given the young country’s recent history.
East Timor’s social media population in particular is growing steadily, with 6% of the population – or 76,000 people – using Facebook at least once in the past month:
As with many emerging economies, the numbers for internet usage in Timor-Leste are far lower than those for social media, mainly because it’s harder to measure the exact number of people accessing the internet.
Many people still access from shared devices in internet cafés or in places of work, and data is often collected by surveys that have taken quite some time to gather, analyse and publish.
Social media figures such as those made available by Facebook are almost real-time though, offering a more up-to-date and accurate picture of the online landscape within these fast-evolving digital ecosystems.
Excitingly, mobile phone subscriptions have already surpassed 50% penetration in Timor-Leste too, meaning many more people now have the opportunity to connect to the internet as soon as affordable mobile data plans become available.
Alongside figures for Australia and New Zealand, we’re also pleased to present some initial figures for Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Both nations play an important role in understanding the broader picture across Pacific nations, and the stories their data snapshots tell reveal some interesting insights:
Fiji already demonstrates relatively strong internet and social media penetration figures, surpassing the regional average in both areas.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea still has plenty of potential for growth, with barely 4% of the population using Facebook in the past month. However, with mobile subscription penetration of 42%, it’s clear that Papuans have an increasing digital opportunity, and we’re confident these figures will all grow considerably during 2014.
We’re also pleased to share statistics on mobile social behaviour for all 30 countries in this study, ensuring marketers have a solid understanding of the opportunities to engage their audiences in a variety of settings and contexts – here are some example stats for Indonesia:
As mobile increasingly becomes our predominant means of accessing online services and content, it’s likely that Asia-Pacific will continue to lead the world in defining the future of the online landscape.
The India Changes
Finally, given the major changes in its internet user numbers since our last report, here’s how the situation in India looks today:
So there you have it – another week, another bumper collection of stats. However, given how quickly the data seems to be changing, it’s clear 2014 is going to be another vintage year for online growth. We’re already looking forward to next year’s APAC report!
Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report. We’d especially like to thank GlobalWebIndex and GSMA Intelligence for their help in providing data for these reports, and for allowing us to publish their valuable data.
The astonishing growth of all things digital continues to gather pace around the world, as We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report on the key social, digital and mobile stats from around the world demonstrates.
It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fuelled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data do reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.
You’ll find the complete story in the SlideShare deck above, but we’ve pulled out some of the highlights below.
Adding up all the users in individual countries around the world, there appear to be around 2.5 billion global internet users today – roughly 35% of the world’s population:
While this represents around 150 million more users than this time last year, these numbers may still be conservative. Reliable, recent data for some countries remains patchy, but the International Communications Union estimates that there are probably closer to 3 billion global internet users, with most of the difference made up by mobile-only connections.
Users are still not distributed evenly either, with some parts of the world still struggling to reach double-digit internet penetration. In particular, Africa, Central and Southern Asia all report relatively low numbers, although it’s worth highlighting that mobile internet users may contribute a significant – yet uncounted – increase in these areas.
With reference to the continued growth in internet penetration, it seems clear that mobile connections will account for the vast majority of new sign-ups in the coming months. As the chart below highlights, the distribution of mobile penetration matches much more closely to the distribution of the world’s population, meaning most people around the world now have a realistic opportunity to access the internet:
The cost of mobile data clearly remains a barrier in much of the remaining world, but as costs continue to fall, and as the benefits continue to increase, it’s likely we’ll see more and more people in the developing world putting increased importance on reliable internet access.
Social channels continued to show strong growth over the past 12 months, with top social networks adding more than 135 million new users in the course of 2013.
This number is slightly misrepresentative of actual growth though, as we’ve decided to focus solely on monthly active user figures to report social media usage in this year’s report. As a result, some numbers may appear lower than they did this time last year (when we used total registered user numbers for some platforms), while the actual growth in active usage may appear smaller than it really was.
Due to the different usage contexts, associated behaviours and opportunities for brands, we’ve also chosen to treat chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat separately to social networks in this year’s report.
However, these platforms continue to capture significant interest from users and marketers alike, a trend reflected in their huge active user bases:
It also appears that social media is now an engrained part of the lives of people across different demographic groups. This increased ubiquity may result in some changes to the specific demographic bases of individual platforms, but even if people’s habits are changing, it appears that people are moving from one social platform to another, rather than deserting social media in its entirety.
Despite this increasing ubiquity, though, social media penetration remains unevenly distributed around the world:
As might be expected, mobile is playing an increasingly important part in the social media landscape. Facebook reports that almost three quarters of its 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world access the platform through mobile, while on any given day, almost half of its users are mobile only.
The importance of mobile is mirrored across other platforms too, with Twitter increasingly a mobile-dominated platform, and platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram depending entirely on a mobile ecosystem.
Given the above, most marketers have now accepted that mobile devices are people’s most important devices, but the opportunities they offer continue to evolve at a staggering pace.
Connected mobile devices have already outpaced more traditional means of internet access such as laptops and PCs, while smartphone sales now outnumber those of feature phones around the world too.
The number of mobile subscriptions jumped by 173 million in 2013, and the number of active mobile subscriptions around the world now equates to roughly 93% of the world’s population.
Penetration rates are more healthy all over the world too, with two-thirds of Africa’s population now mobile powered. Meanwhile, many regions – including those in the developing world – have penetration levels far in excess of 100%:
Mobile broadband access has exploded around the world in recent months too, and 1.5 billion people now have access to relatively fast internet from their mobile devices:
A Regional View
While the picture in many Western countries has converged, there are a number of areas around the world that maintain their idiosyncrasies. In particular, China and Eastern Europe continue to prefer local social networks, while Africa, Central and South Asia are considerably under-represented when it comes to internet penetration:
The world’s most populous region saw another strong year of growth across all things digital in 2013.
China’s social media giants continue to post strong growth, whether it’s active users on Qzone, or the incredible growth of Weixin (WeChat).
However, both Japan and South Korea have seen some fragmentation of the social media landscape, with chat apps like LINE and Kakaotalk continuing to gain momentum. Neither company releases monthly active user numbers though, so it’s hard to know exactly how these platforms compare to the more traditional networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Interestingly, however, ‘claimed’ usage of social media in both countries differs dramatically from the picture painted by Facebook’s monthly active user numbers, suggesting that Northeast Asia’s netizens may be harnessing a wider variety of platforms.
Facebook continues to lead Twitter in both countries though, and appears to maintain its top spot almost everywhere.
China and countries in Eastern Europe host the few exceptions to Facebook’s global dominance, with Qzone and VKontakte claiming the top spots in a handful of nations.
However, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook will continue to play a central role in the social media landscape in 2014 too.
The Local Picture
We’ve gone into an extra level of detail in this year’s report too, offering insights into the local digital ecosystem across 24 of the world’s biggest economies:
Alongside offering the key digital indicators, we’ve also collated some key behavioural indicators, including time spent on the internet and on social media, as well as the prevalence of important activities on connected mobile devices.
You’ll find all the facts and figures for each country in the complete 180+ page report on SlideShare (as embedded at the top of this post).
We’re pleased to share the latest of our SDMW snapshots for social media use around Asia.
Today’s snapshot offers a more comparable definition of ‘users’, and is based solely on active users*, rather than the overall user numbers we used for some countries in previous reports where active user data was not available.
Social Media Users
Despite this recalibration, the total number of social media users across the top network in each of our 24 SDMW Asia nations has increased to 874 million, reflecting 18% growth compared to our last full report in October.
This represents growth of more than 10 million new users of social media every month – a figure that’s all the more impressive considering Facebook’s recent clean up of ‘fake’ accounts.
However, social media penetration has fluctuated around the region in the past few months, with a number of ‘mature’ markets – including Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong – registering a drop in penetration as the frequency of Facebook usage begins to slow.
Overall though, regional penetration remained static at 23%, in line with the overall global average:
More importantly, the drop in penetration across mature markets has been balanced by on-going growth in markets like India and Indonesia, both of which continue to see social media usage expand at impressive rates.
However, the most interesting story comes from North Asia, where we’re seeing accelerating mass adoption of mobile chat applications.
Neither Japan nor Korea was a ‘Facebook market’ in our previous report – Korea’s primary social network was CyWorld, while Japanese social media users appeared to prefer Twitter – but the rapid growth of newer chat platforms may scupper the world’s favourite network’s plans to grow in these countries.
Similarly, while Qzone continues to be the region’s largest social network by active users, we expect to see this situation change in the coming months as a result of the increased implementation of China’s real name rules for social media use, and the continued expansion of platforms like WeChat (Weixin).
Indeed, WeChat’s success beyond its home market of China looks set to be one of the biggest social media stories in Asia over the next few months.
Given these trends, it’s clear that mobile’s role in the Asian social media landscape looks set to grow in importance, so look out for our upcoming post on using mobile to connect with Asian social audiences.
* Figures reflect monthly active users, except for Korea where we’ve used daily active user numbers. Note that user numbers for Japan and Korea have been extrapolated from available data.