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2014 was a landmark year for growth across all things digital, and We Are Social’s new Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 report indicates that this year will see even more impressive numbers.
Including stats for more than 240 countries around the world, and profiling 30 of the world’s biggest economies in detail, this report is the most comprehensive, free compendium of up-to-date digital statistics and data you’ll find.
So what do its 376 pages reveal?
As we’ve seen in our on-going series of Digital Statshot reports, mobile increasingly dominates the digital world, and we’re confident that ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ will gather even more pace during 2015, as cheaper handsets and more affordable data connections reach further around the world.
What’s more, with mobile-oriented services like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger achieving the top social media ranking spots in some of the world’s biggest economies, it’s clear that much of our digital behaviour is now converging around mobile devices.
Based on the trends within this data, we expect that mobile will help to push internet penetration beyond 50% of the world’s population during mid to late 2016.
Before that, though, we expect to see social media penetration reach one-third of the world’s population – likely by the end of 2015 – with new users in developing nations accounting for almost all of this growth.
In Context: 12 Months of Amazing Growth
The digital world passed some impressive milestones in 2014:
- Worldwide social media users exceeded 2 billion back in August;
- Worldwide penetration of mobile phones passed 50% in September;
- The number of global internet users passed 3 billion in early November;
- The number of active mobile connections surpassed the total world population just last month;
Excitingly, the numbers in our new 2015 report suggest that this growth shows no signs of slowing anytime soon:
You’ll find an amazing wealth of data and infographics designed for easy copy-paste into your own presentations in the SlideShare embed above, but read on for our additional insights into the numbers.
Almost 42% of the world’s population has access to the internet in January 2015, representing a significant jump in reported numbers since last year’s report, when the same figure was just 35%:
Our analysis of these numbers suggests that much of this increase is due to more accurate and timely reporting of data rather than a sudden surge in access, but there is little doubt that many millions of new users accessed the internet for the first time in the past 12 months – many of them via mobile phones.
As we reported in early November, more than 3 billion people around the world now use the internet via a variety of different devices. However, access is not evenly distributed: the reported number of internet users in Bermuda, Bahrain and Iceland almost equals those countries’ total reported populations, but the data also suggest that fewer than 0.1% of the populations of North Korea and South Sudan have access to the internet.
Internet connection speeds vary significantly around the world too, from an average of more than 25 Mbps in South Korea, to barely 2 Mbps in India. Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the USA make up the top 5 fastest nations after South Korea, with each registering speeds in excess of 10 Mbps, putting them well above the global average of 4.5 Mbps:
The average internet user spends around 4 hours and 25 minutes using the net each day, with Southeast Asians registering the highest average daily use. Research conducted by GlobalWebIndex shows that Filipino internet users spend more than 6 hours per day using the net, with Thais, Vietnamese, Indonesians and Malaysians also all averaging more than 5 hours of use per day:
Mobile’s share of global web traffic leapt 39% since the same time last year, with one-third of all web pages now served to mobile phones:
However, mobile’s share of the web also varies considerably around the world: mobile phones account for 89% of all pages served in Papua New Guinea, but barely 0.1% of pages served in some of the smaller Caribbean islands.
It’s worth highlighting that India’s web traffic is dominated by mobile devices, with phones alone accounting for 72% of all web pages served in the world’s second most populous nation:
The good news is that the potential for faster mobile internet access has grown exponentially in the past year, with 39% of all global mobile connections now classified as ‘broadband’ (i.e. 3G or 4G):
Social media continues to grow apace around the world too, with active user accounts now equating to roughly 29% of the world’s population.
Monthly active user (MAU) figures for the most active social network in each country add up to almost 2.08 billion – a 12% increase since January 2014:
Meanwhile, research conducted by GlobalWebIndex suggests that the average social media user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day using social networks and microblogs, with Argentinian and Filipino users registering the most, at more than 4 hours per day:
Facebook continues to dominate the global social media landscape, claiming 1.366 billion active users in January 2015. Crucially, 1.133 billion of the platform’s global users – 83% of the total – now access the service through mobile devices.
Meanwhile, Tencent extended its dominance of Chinese-language social networks, with Qzone’s 629 million active accounts leading the pack. However, our analysis indicates that a number of the platform’s users have more than one account, meaning this figure may not be reliable as a basis for the calculation of social media penetration.
VKontakte retains the top social media spot in Russia and a handful of its neighbours, although reliable monthly active user figures are more difficult to come by. The latest data suggest the platform has around 100 million monthly active users, of which roughly two-thirds are in Russia.
As we saw above, mobile usage of social networks like Facebook continues to grow all over the world. Adding up the mobile users of the top social network in each country, we see at least 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts in January 2015:
Meanwhile, instant messenger services and chat apps continue their impressive growth patterns, with WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber all reporting more than 100 million new monthly active users over the past 12 months.
Instant messenger services and chat apps now account for 3 of the top 5 global social platforms, and 8 instant messenger brands now claim more than 100 million monthly active users:
As in other areas of this year’s report, much of this growth has been fuelled by the increasing importance of mobile devices in people’s everyday lives, and this trend looks set to accelerate in 2015.
Unique mobile users exceeded 50% of the world’s population in September 2014, and the current year-on-year growth rate of more than 5% suggests we’ll see roughly 200 million new mobile users over the next 12 months.
GSMA Intelligence and Ericsson both report more than 7 billion active mobile subscriptions, but it’s important to note that the average global mobile user still maintains roughly two active connections:
Smartphones account for an increasingly large proportion of mobile use, with Ericsson reporting that these devices claim a 38% share of the world’s active connections:
Almost 4 in 10 global mobile connections now qualify as ‘broadband’ – i.e. a 3G connection or better – but as with so many other aspects of this report, fast mobile data access varies hugely from one country to the next:
Reports suggest that all of North Korea’s 2.8 million mobile connections are 3G or above, although this is tempered by the fact that the internet – or at least the internet as we know it in the rest of the world – is not available to the country’s average citizen. However, at 11% penetration – 65% up on the same period last year – the role of mobile in North Korea may be cause for optimism.
As with fixed internet access, South Korea is streets ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to mobile internet speeds, with the country’s mobile operators delivering an average connection of 18.2 Mbps – twice as much as any other nation.
Singapore and the UK follow, with 9.1 Mbps and 8.1 Mbps respectively. India, Brazil, Argentina all registered average mobile data connections below 2 Mbps, while Vietnam registered the slowest average mobile data connection in this years report, at barely 1.1 Mbps:
Despite these slow speeds, data reported by Ericsson in its latest Mobility Report suggest that the average global mobile connection uses around 900MB of data every month, with total monthly global data traffic rapidly approaching 3 exabytes – i.e. 3 billion gigabytes:
However, more than three-quarters of the world’s mobile connections are still pre-paid, and the costs of acquiring a phone and maintaining an active mobile connection continue to represent a significant proportion of household expenditure in many developing nations.
As a result, content producers and marketers must balance their desire to provide ‘rich’ user experiences such as online video with the likely costs that this will entail for their audiences:
What’s more, 58% of the world’s mobile connections still come from more basic, ‘feature’ phone handsets, meaning many people will be unable to access such content even if they’d like to.
At the other end of the mobile spectrum, the use of tablets increased steadily during 2014, with 7% of all web pages served in the past month going to these devices.
Combined, mobile phones and tablets now account for 38% of all web pages served around the world.
Mirroring this trend, laptops and desktops saw a 13% decline in share of web traffic compared to the same period last year, down to 62% of all web pages served:
Thanks to some great data from GlobalWebIndex, we’re delighted to include some detailed data points relating to online shopping for most of the countries in this year’s report.
The United Kingdom leads in terms of active e-commerce use, with data suggesting that almost two-thirds of the country’s population bought something online in the past month
Germany and South Korea follow close behind at 63% and 62% respectively, while the USA comes in fourth at 56%
South and Southeast Asia lag when it comes to e-commerce though, with data suggesting barely 14% of Indians bought something online in the past month. Similarly, fewer than 1 in 5 Thais and Filipinos used e-commerce in the past 30 days:
Mobile commerce is picking up momentum around the world though though, especially in East Asia, with data suggesting that 37% of South Koreans bought something online via a mobile phone in the past month.
The Chinese are also increasingly active mobile shoppers, with 27% of the population buying something through their phones in the past 30 days:
Local Country Profiles
You’ll also find in-depth profiles of 30 of the world’s largest economies in the report, in the same format as the China slides you’ll find at the bottom of this post.
Here’s a list of the countries we cover in detail:
So What Next?
If you’d like to explore the individual country data in more detail, you might like to know you can download the complete report for free by clicking here.
We’ll leave you with the country slides for China:
We’re delighted to announce the latest in We Are Social’s series of Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide reports, this time with more than 250 pages of stats and behavioural indicators for 40 countries across Europe.
We featured a number of these countries in our global report just a month ago, but as you’ll see in this new report, many of the data points have already changed.
The critical changes are to the Social Media figures, with many countries seeing increases in monthly active user bases in the past couple of weeks.
The lovely folks at GlobalWebIndex have also given us permission to share figures from their fresh new Wave 12 study, released just last week. This new wave of GWI data brings us up to Q4 2013, and provides a hugely informative perspective on the freshest numbers and behaviours for the region’s biggest economies.
The Global Picture
As we saw in the APAC report, online landscapes never stay the same, so we start this report with another fresh look at the global landscape.
The main difference in this report is the number of active social media users, which has grown by almost 2 million active users since our APAC report just 2 weeks ago:
Internet in Europe
Europe has impressively high levels of internet usage, with 7 countries around the region registering penetration of more than 90%.
Iceland and Norway lead the way, with 95% each.
Penetration in the Ukraine lags the rest of the region by some way, but is still on a par with the global average of 34%.
On a regional basis though, more than two thirds of Europe’s population is now online:
The total number of internet users around the region is also impressive, with Europe now counting more than half a billion people online:
In terms of time spent online, it’s the Eastern side of Europe that leads the way, with internet users in Poland and Russia spending an average of 4.8 hours on the net each day.
Italy leads the way when it comes to mobile internet usage at an average of 2.2 hours per day, while Irish, Spanish and Polish internet users all spend an average of almost 2 hours per day connected via mobile devices:
Social Media in Europe
At the start of 2014, Europe boasts almost 300 million active social media users, accounting for 40% of the region’s population:
However, when it comes to platforms of choice, the social media landscape in Europe is split in two.
Facebook dominates in Western Europe, with 37 countries around the region accounting for a total of 232.2 million active users – roughly 19% of the platform’s total global user base.
To put that in perspective, these countries account for less than 8% of the total world population.
Eastern Europe is still a VKontakte stronghold though, with users in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus accounting for more than 60 million active accounts.
Facebook is present here too, and its user base continues to grow in these countries, but the world’s favourite social network currently only claims 12.4 million monthly active users across these 3 countries combined.
As with internet penetration, Iceland also leads the way in terms of social media penetration, with 70% of the country’s population using Facebook in the past month.
Malta puts in an impressive showing at 58% penetration, with Scandinavian countries rounding out the rest of the top 5:
Time spent on social media continues to account for a large part of overall online activity too, with Italy and Russia – the most ‘socially active’ nations in Europe – spending more than 40% of their connected time on social media:
Meanwhile, mobile social continues to grow in importance around the region, with two thirds of the region’s social media users regularly accessing via mobile devices:
This is still considerably lower than the same proportion in APAC though, and accounts for a penetration rate of barely 26% of the total regional population.
The figures vary considerably between countries, with more than half of the populations of Norway and Iceland connecting to Facebook via a mobile device in the past month:
At 30 million active mobile social users, the UK leads the way in terms of absolute numbers, while Germany, France and Italy all register 20 million active users each:
We’re pleased to include overviews for each of Europe’s sub-regions too, with 7 distinct analyses showing how the online landscape varies across the ‘continent':
Each of these sub-regional analyses provides a top-level picture of key stats, helping marketers to plan multi-market activities with greater ease.
For illustration, here’s the overview for Northern Europe, which covers Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden:
In-Depth Country Analysis
We’ve included an in-depth analysis of the local picture for 40 countries in this report, with a wealth of stats and behavioural indicators for each nation.
In particular, we’re delighted to include data for Spain, which was the most-requested country following our global report a few weeks ago.
You’ll find all the numbers you need for each country in the full SlideShare presentation (as featured at the top of this post), but just to whet your appetite, here are the numbers for Spain:
And there we have it – another bumper collection of online facts and stats.
Do get in touch if you’d like some help making sense of these numbers, or if you’d like us to work with you to turn these insights into an actionable strategy.
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.
Bangladesh is one of Asia’s giants, with a population of more than 160 million.
This ranks the country 8th in the world in terms of population size, ahead of Russia, Japan and Mexico.
Goldman Sachs also includes Bangladesh in its ‘Next Eleven’ economies, indicating that the country has a high potential to be one of the world’s biggest economies in the coming years.
However, many Bangladeshis still live on less than US$2 per day, and UNICEF reports that 50% of the country’s population lives below the international poverty line.
Despite these economic challenges, however, use of online media continues the stellar growth that we highlighted in last year’s report.
Internet use in particular has jumped exponentially, and according to figures from Bangladesh’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, users now stand at nearly 30 million across the country.
Critically, 94% of these users access the internet via mobile devices, the vast majority of which are feature phones.
This puts internet penetration in Bangladesh at 18%; that’s a huge leap from last year’s reported figure of just 1% (although that figure did not include mobile internet users).
However, perhaps the most staggering finding in this report is the fact that this figure is lower than the number of people who have no access to any media whatsoever.
Findings from Nielsen (cited here) indicate that 32 million Bangladeshis still have absolutely no access to media – 10% more than those who have access to the internet.
Much of this relates to economics; many Bangladeshi families still can’t afford a television, and an hour’s internet access in an internet café in Bangladesh costs the equivalent of 70% of the average daily income, putting the web well beyond the means of most citizens.
Perhaps for this reason, social media use in Bangladesh remains relatively low too, currently standing at just 2% penetration.
However, Facebook is adding a new user in Bangladesh every 20 seconds, and it’s likely that initiatives from some of the country’s telcos offering ‘free’ access to Facebook will help to boost user numbers well beyond the current 3.3 million in the coming 12 months.
There’s an obvious business benefit to this approach for the telcos too; almost half of Facebook’s users in Bangladesh are aged in the lucrative 18-to-24 age group.
More importantly, mobile subscriptions in Bangladesh continue to grow at a staggering pace, with the total now exceeding 100 million.
This means that penetration already sits at 63%, but this looks set to pass two thirds of the population in just a few months, with the country’s operators registering more than 50,000 new subscriptions every single day in the first 6 months of 2012.
And with a new mobile subscription activated on average every 2 seconds in Bangladesh, the country should easily add another 10 million subscriptions to its tally before the middle of 2013.
With growth like that, we’ll be putting Bangladesh in our ‘Digital Next Eleven’ as well.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.
Today’s #SDMW report focuses on one of Asia’s most exciting markets: India.
With the world’s second largest population, India holds huge potential for marketers from all over the world.
The country’s 1.2 billion inhabitants have embraced social, digital and mobile technology too, and India’s online ecosystem offers some truly startling numbers.
To start with, here are the top headlines:
- India has 137 million internet users – more people than the total population of Japan.
- More than 60 million people in India use social networks – equivalent to the total population of Italy
- India is home to a staggering 934 million mobile subscriptions – equivalent to more than 13% of the world’s entire population
Despite these impressive numbers, however, internet penetration in India remains quite low, with just 11% of the population having used the internet.
The country’s 137 million users still put India in 3rd place on the global rankings by number of internet users though, and this number is continuing to rise by at least 1.5 million users per month.
Moreover, with 56% of India’s population aged below 30 – and a new child born in the country every 2 seconds – it’s clear that India’s digital journey still has plenty of potential for growth.
Indeed, India is the fastest growing online market in the world, and internet usage grew by more than 40% in the year to July.
Indian netizens also appear to spend a considerable amount of time online each day – up to 8 hours each – which adds extra weight to the basic user numbers.
These users spend plenty of money too; The Times of India reports that Indian youth will spend more than US$9 billion on mobile internet activities in 2012 alone. That’s more than the GDP of the Bahamas.
Social Networking continues to be the main driver behind much of India’s increased online activity, although social media penetration in India remains remarkably low at just 5%.
Facebook continues to dominate India’s social media landscape with more than 60 million active users, and the world’s most popular platform show no signs of slowing either, adding a new Indian user every single second.
With social networking use expected to grow by more than 50% in 2012, it’s likely that these numbers are also on the conservative side; estimates from eMarketer and Global Web Index both put Indian social networking users above 75 million.
Interestingly, 60% of India’s Facebook users are under 25, with barely 12% over the age of 35. They’re still predominantly male too, with barely 3 female users in every 10 on Facebook.
More than half of India’s social media users purport to use more than one social platform too, with Google+ claiming the second largest user base at around 50 million.
Twitter and LinkedIn are also popular amongst Indian netizens, with each claiming more than 15 million users.
YouTube has particular appeal for Indian audiences too, with 20 visitors every single second. Each month, almost 56 million visitors from India consume more than 4 billion videos – 25% of them via mobile devices.
And it’s mobile usage like this that’s leading the charge towards the future.
With almost 1 billion mobile subscriptions, India’s mobile market is second only to China’s.
Critically, more than one third of these subscriptions are from the rural areas that are home to 69% of India’s population.
Many of these rural areas still lack fixed communication infrastructure (mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed line telephones 30 to 1), so mobile holds the key to India’s evolving digital world.
Tellingly, there are already more than 50 million mobile internet users across the country, but this 36% of users accounts for more than 50% of national internet use.
Smartphone use is also picking up quickly in India, and the nation’s 27 million smartphone users each spend an average of more than 40 days every year using their phones – roughly 16% of their waking lives.
With numbers like that, it’s clear to see why we’re excited about India’s digital future too. We’ll see you there.
The sources for all the stats can be found at the bottom of each slide in the SlideShare deck above. You can also download a high-res PDF of this report here.
Today’s #SDMW report investigates the social, digital and mobile ecosystem in Laos.
Laos is one of Asia’s poorer countries, with average income hovering just above US$3 per day.
Two thirds of the population lives in one of the Laos’s 9,119 rural villages, and more than one third of the population is below the age of 15.
Official figures indicate that internet penetration in Laos remains relatively low, at just 8% – almost 3½ times lower than the Asian average.
However, these figures are from late 2011, and we estimate that the real number of internet users in the country is now much higher than the 527,400 reported by the country’s Ministry of Post & Telecommunications last December.
Meanwhile, the latest figures from Facebook indicate that at least a quarter of a million people in Laos use social networks, accounting for around 4% of the total population.
Critically, the number of Facebook users in Laos has jumped 64% in the past 6 months, with approximately 581 Laotians signing up to the network every day – that’s a new user every 2½ minutes.
The number of mobile subscribers in the country has also shown impressive growth since our last report at the end of 2011, with well over 1.5 million new mobile subscriptions delivering a jump of 43%.
Mobile penetration now stands at 83% of the population, up from 60% in our last report, with nearly 5½ million subscribers nationwide.
However, use of 3G services in Laos remains low, with estimates indicating that penetration is still less than 0.5%.
3G use has grown by almost 100% in the past 12 months though, and the ITU expects penetration to reach almost 20% within the next 3 years.
This has particular significance for Laotians, as it will bring internet services within reach for a far greater proportion of the population.
Access to infrastructure has been one of the biggest barriers to increased use of digital media in the country: according to data from Laos’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, fixed line telephony services still reach less than 4% of the population, and fewer than 25,000 people had signed up for an internet service provider by March 2012.
Indeed, more than one third of internet activity in Laos originates from mobile devices, and with desktops and laptops still beyond the means of most of Laos’s citizens, mobile internet access holds the key to online growth.
The good news is that 3G services already reach 80% of Laos’s population, and the government has a plan in place to extend this still further over the coming months.
Moreover, 4G services are already available in Laos’s capital, Vientiane, making Laos only the second country in ASEAN to offer such services after Singapore.
We fully expect that access to these advanced mobile networks will deliver impressive growth in all areas of Laos’s online ecosystem during 2013.
All data sources are at the bottom of each slide. You can download a high-res PDF of the report here.