Global internet users spend, on average, 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media per day, though trends differ widely by country. In many of the markets that Global Web Index surveyed, social media use had shrunk or plateaued in Q1 2020 when compared with 2019 and 2018 figures, but the coronavirus pandemic reversed this trend in many countries.
According to the World Economic Forum, emerging markets continue to spend the most time on social networks during a typical day. This could be driven by these markets generally having younger populations, with the 16 to 24-year-old segment driving growth globally. Nigeria spent the most time connected to social networks, devoting more than four hours a day to the digital social sphere. Filipinos typically spent almost as much time per day on social media sites, while Indians and Chinese clocked in around 2.5 hours and 2 hours, respectively, per day.
Countries with aging populations exhibited shorter social media use. During a typical day in Japan, people spend only three quarters of an hour staying connected on social networks. Germany posts only slightly higher numbers, with users going on social media for one hour and twenty minutes every day, while the UK and the U.S. both spent closer to two hours per day engaging with social media.
Global internet users have climbed to 4.95 billion at the start of 2022, with internet penetration now standing at 62.5 percent of the world’s total population. Data show that internet users have grown by 192 million (+4.0 percent) over the past year, but ongoing restrictions to research and reporting due to Covid-19 mean that actual growth trends may be considerably higher than these figures suggest.
There are 4.62 billion social media users around the world in January 2022. This figure is equal to 58.4 percent of the world’s total population, although it’s worth noting that social media “users” may not represent unique individuals. Global social media users have grown by more than 10 percent over the past 12 months, with 424 million new users starting their social media journey during 2021.
Social media users have seen a faster growth than internet users over the past decade. Today’s total of 4.62 billion social media users is 3.1 times higher than the 1.48 billion figure we published in 2012. Social media user growth has continued at a double-digit rate of 10.1 percent over the past 12 months too, but I confess I’m surprised that the growth rate between 2021 and 2022 has remained above pre-pandemic levels.
For context, the latest data indicate that 424 million users started their social media journey over the past year, equating to an average of more than 1 million new users per day, or roughly 13½ new users every single second.
Moreover, with social media users now equating to 58.4 percent of the world’s total population, we should expect to see growth rates start to decelerate over the next few years, and this may well be the last time that we report double-digit annual growth in social media users.
Data reveal that the number of people who remain “unconnected” to the internet has now dropped below 3 billion for the first time. This marks a significant milestone in the world’s journey towards equal digital access, and has particular relevance as the role of connected devices has moved from luxury to lifeline, especially during the pandemic.
More than 1 billion people remain offline across Southern Asia, while almost 840 million people are yet to come online across Africa. Despite accounting for roughly 1 in 5 of the world’s connected population, China is still home to more than 400 million of the world’s “unconnected”.