More than half of the world’s population is now active on social media or around 4.2 billion people. In the space of a year, this figure has grown by more than 13 percent, which corresponds to around 500 million new recruits, or 1.3 million additional users per day.
Three figures stand out in the Digital Report 2021: 4.66 billion people worldwide use the internet (+7.3 percent year on year); 4.32 billion people worldwide use a mobile phone to access the internet (+1.8 percent), and 4.2 billion people worldwide are active social media users (+13.2 percent).
Across all devices, web users worldwide spend an average 6hrs 54mins using the internet each day. That includes surfing the web, as well as time spent using social media or audio and video streaming services. The most avid internet users are in the Philippines, with a daily average of 10hrs 56mins of internet use, almost double the average in France, for example (5hrs 37mins). The smartphone is an increasingly popular means of using the internet, with the average daily time spent using the internet on mobile devices now 3hrs 39mins.
While 99 percent of the population in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Iceland, and Norway use the internet, this drops to 8.5 percent in Comoros, 8 percent in South Sudan, and 6.9 percent in Eritrea. The case of North Korea — where internet access is officially blocked, — stands apart, since less than 0.1 percent of the population has internet access. And the number of internet users worldwide has by no means not stopped booming. In fact, in the two most populous countries, China and India, 34.8 percent and 55 percent of the population currently do not use the internet.
In terms of usage, 90.6 percent of internet users watch online videos, 73.2 percent listen to music streaming services and 44.1 percent listen to or watch podcasts.
The number of active users on social media has practically doubled in five years, with 4.2 billion users worldwide, or 53.6 percent of the global population. Note that in the United Arab Emirates, 99 percent of the population is active on social media, compared to 89.3 percent in South Korea and 88.1 percent in Taiwan.
Each internet user currently has an average of 8.4 social media accounts and spends 2hrs 25mins each day using them. As well as being the most popular social network, with over 2.7 billion users, Facebook also appears to be the most addictive, with members spending an average of 19hrs 30mins per month on the platform. It is in India that Facebook has the most subscribers (320 million), followed by the US (190 million) and Indonesia (140 million).
The Digital Report 2021 is compiled by the We Are Social agency in collaboration with the social media management platform, Hootsuite. It features data from partner publications such as GlobalWebIndex, GSMA Intelligence, Statista, Locowise, and SimilarWeb.