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The digital world passed another huge milestone today, with InternetLiveStats reporting that the number of global internet users has just passed the 3 billion mark.
InternetLiveStats extrapolates its numbers from data provided by the ITU, the World Bank, and the United Nations, so the timing won’t be exact; however, the number remains a very useful guide to the continuing growth of the internet around the world.
Beyond this historic milestone, there are some more juicy numbers in this month’s Digital Statshot too, which you’ll find in the SlideShare above.
Read on for our analysis of those numbers, and what they mean for marketers.
2014 has seen steady growth in internet usage, with current trends suggesting that global users are increasing by more than 5% year-on-year.
Critically, Statista reports that roughly three-quarters of the world’s 3 billion users access the internet via mobile devices, and this ratio is steadily increasing as data connections become more accessible in developing nations.
Some of the world’s leading social networks released new user data in the past month too, with Facebook and Twitter both publishing updated user figures in October:
Facebook’s active user based showed growth of 2.3% in the past quarter, reaching 1.35 billion in time for the company’s latest quarterly report last week.
However, Facebook’s data also suggest that growth in some of the platform’s key countries – notably India and Indonesia – has slowed considerably in recent months, although our understanding is that this is likely due to Facebook ‘purging’ fake accounts, rather than an actual loss of interest in the world’s largest social network.
Twitter’s new numbers show that the platform now claims 284 million active users around the world, which, despite the stock market’s reaction, still demonstrates steady growth.
The on-going rise of mobile chat apps continues to be 2014′s hottest social media story, and with WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE all showing strong growth in recent months, this trend looks set to dominate well into 2015 too:
This trend is mirrored by the continuing rise of mobile social networking too, with data from Facebook, Tencent and VKontakte indicating that more than 80% of the world’s social media users now access via mobile devices.
Please note that, following Tencent’s announcement that it will no longer support its Tencent Weibo platform, we’ve removed this from our reporting, as we believe that this move indicates that Tencent believes marketers would be better to use one of the company’s other platforms (which include QQ, QZone and WeChat).
Also, despite registering more than 1 billion monthly active users, we have opted not to include YouTube data in this report, as social connectivity is not the site’s primary function.
Mobile continues to register impressive growth around the world too, with GSMA Intelligence registering almost 1 million new unique users every day since our last report – that’s more than 11 new users every second.
The total number of active subscriptions continues to grow too, and at 7.267 billion, the number of connections is rapidly approaching the same figure as the world’s total population, which today stands at 7.272 billion according to Worldometers.
However, it’s important to note that the average mobile user still maintains more than 2 active mobile subscriptions, and global mobile penetration still hovers around the 50% mark:
We’ve been publishing snapshots of key digital data for some time now, but we thought it might make sense to bring these numbers together in a regular series of PDF reports, which we’re calling ‘Digital Statshots’.
These Statshot reports are designed to supplement our more in-depth Social, Digital and Mobile reports, which contain individual data points for more than 100 countries around the world. You’ll find all those in-depth reports by clicking here.
Read on for some of the highlights from Statshot 001…
Global internet users are quickly approaching 3 billion, and we expect numbers to pass this milestone before the end of 2014.
Social media usage continues to rise, although much of this growth relates to the increased use of chat apps.
Despite this growth, social networks still dominate the social landscape in most countries, and Facebook continued to register modest global growth in the first 6 months of 2014.
However, active usage of QZone (China’s largest active social network by user numbers) and VKontakte (which still dominates the social ecosystem in Russia and some of its neighbours) appears to have fallen slightly in recent months, albeit only by a matter of 1 or 2 percentage points.
We’re pleased to include data from Ericsson’s Mobility Report in this Statshot, which offers a new dimension to our mobile reporting.
It’s worth noting that there are significant differences between the data reported by Ericsson and GSMA Intelligence though, especially when it comes to unique user numbers.
Ericsson reports 4.6 billion unique users, which would suggest global penetration of 63%; however, GSMA Intelligence reports 3.6 billion global users, indicating a global penetration rate of 50%.
Both are obviously very impressive numbers, but it’s important to note the sizeable difference of 1 billion users between the two sources.
It’s also worth highlighting that GSMA Intelligence have revised their unique mobile user figures down slightly since our previous Statshot. However, we believe this revision is likely due to more accurate reporting from individual mobile operators, and is unlikely to reflect a real drop in unique user numbers.
Meanwhile, the number of active mobile connections (sometimes called contracts or subscriptions) is quickly approaching the same figure as the total world population. However, the average global mobile user still maintains roughly 2 active mobile connections, and half the world’s population is still ‘unconnected’.
Social media usage on mobile is growing rapidly, with the figures reported by key networks suggesting growth of almost 30 million users since our most recent report just 6 weeks ago.
Averaged out, that suggests roughly 725,000 new mobile social users ever day – or more than 8 new users every second.
Given the rapid growth of mobile users and skyrocketing chat app and mobile social adoption, it’s clear that – from a user perspective at least – mobile social is going to be the dominant story in 2015.
So, wherever you are in the world: if you’re putting together your marketing plans for next year, make sure you include sufficient budget for mobile social activities.
Some points to note on this report:
- We’ve gathered all data from third-party sources, all of which we’ve detailed in the footnotes of the relevant slides. You’ll find more information on those sources’ sample sizes, collection methodologies, and relevant time periods on their respective websites. We strive to ensure that all the data we include is as recent and accurate as possible, but please check with the relevant data source(s) if you have questions about individual data points.
- Where different sources report significantly different numbers for the same data point, we’ve included the different sets of data for convenient reference.
- You’re welcome to copy-paste these slides into your own presentations, reports, blogs and social media posts; all we ask is that you use the whole image, including the credits and logos for We Are Social and the original data sources.
- If you believe you have more accurate numbers for any of the relevant data points, we’d love to hear from you – just drop us an email.
The number of unique mobile phone users around the world has just passed 50% of the world’s total population.
The usage figures – provided by GSMA Intelligence – suggest that 100 million more people started using a mobile device since April of this year.
To put those figures in context, that’s more than 750,000 new mobile users every day – or 9 new users every second.
Changing Usage Patterns
Meanwhile, the average mobile user still maintains roughly 2 active contracts per phone, with the total number of active mobile connections almost equal to the number of people living on earth.
The average of 1.97 connections per user indicates a slight drop since April though, when the figure was 1.99.
This fall may in part be fuelled by an increasing move to smartphones; as more people gain access to mobile data plans and start to use ‘chat apps’ like WhatsApp and WeChat, the need to maintain multiple mobile contracts across different networks in order to benefit from cost efficiencies will diminish:
On that note, it’s worth noting that smartphone adoption is continuing apace; Ericsson reports that more than one-third of all active mobile contracts now run on smartphones, while smart devices accounted for 65% of the 300 million new handset sold between April and June of this year.
Critically, this 300 million figure – when compared to the growth in overall mobile users outlined above – suggests that many existing mobile users are upgrading to smart devices.
However, more than 4.6 billion mobile connections around the world still run on more basic, ‘feature phone’ handsets.
Connecting On The Go
Despite the continued dominance of feature phones though, the use of data-powered services is becoming more widespread: in the past quarter, Ericsson report that mobile broadband subscriptions exceeded 2.4 billion, while more than 1.5 billion social media users around the world accessed their accounts via mobile devices in the past 30 days:
For more data on Mobile, Social and Digital usage, see our full range of free reports.
The latest figures from Facebook suggest that the number of people actively using social media each month has now passed the 2 billion mark. More than half of these use Facebook each month, while Tencent’s QZone platform is home to almost one-third of all global users.
These aren’t the only platforms posting good numbers though – Twitter in particular has shown impressive active user growth in the past few months:
There will inevitably be overlap between users of these platforms though, so we’ve been careful to only include the numbers for the largest network in each country in our total global figure.
Given that, it’s worth noting that another big contributor to the global active user number is VKontakte, which accounts for 75 million of the total global figure. That’s not enough to place it in the Global Top 10 rankings above, but VK is still a dominant force in Russia and a number of its neighbours.
Beyond the social media stats, it’s equally exciting to report that more than half the planet now owns a mobile phone, with unique users now exceeding 3.6 billion.
Globally active mobile subscriptions now exceed 7.1 billion, suggesting that the average phone owner maintains almost 2 active subscriptions.
Internet growth also continues apace, with globally active users now tantalisingly close to the 3 billion mark.
Mobile social media use is also on the rise, with 77% of all social networking users now accessing via mobile devices.
You’ll find more specific figures – including data for more that 100 countries around the world – in our SDMW series of reports.
Continuing our series of reports on the social, digital and mobile landscapes of hundreds of countries around the world, today we’re very pleased to share a report on countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
As always, we begin with a quick update on the latest global figures:
If you’re looking for in-depth numbers on specific countries beyond the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, you may want to check out these previous reports:
The Internet in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey
As in so many other areas of life, internet usage in the Middle East is a story of variety. There’s a huge disparity in terms of access, from almost complete penetration in Kuwait to barely 8% in Iraq:
Interestingly, however, the role of mobile access is still very low in the Middle East, especially when compared to the numbers we saw in last week’s India report:
Given the high rate of internet penetration in Kuwait, as well as that country’s relatively higher adoption rate of mobile internet, we believe that mobile devices will be the key driver of improved internet access throughout the region in coming months, and we’d expect overall numbers to increase significantly in the near future.
Social media continues to grow in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, with many countries showing strong penetration figures:
Meanwhile, Facebook does not release user figures for Syria, although recent evidence suggests that it’s still a powerful platform within the country.
Mobile is a key component of social media usage in the region, with many countries seeing impressive figures for access on the go:
Despite the lower-than-expected numbers for mobile internet adoption, mobile usage in the region is strong and growing, with most countries exceeding the global average:
However, 3G access remains elusive even in the most developed nations, and the vast majority of the region’s population continues to rely on lower-speed connections:
Individual Country Details
You’ll find complete data for 20 of the region’s key economies in our full report:
In the meantime, here are the slides for Turkey to whet your appetite.
Looking for stats for other countries? See our full range of free reports and social media guides here.