New global insights from the Digital in 2019 report show internet penetration is accelerating. More than 360 million people came online for the first time in 2018. New users are growing at a rate of more than 11 per second or one million new users each day. The report, from Hootsuite and We Are Social, is based on a selection of reliable third-party sources.
Mobile is the key driver of internet growth. Smartphones now account for two-thirds of global mobile connections. Approximately 5.5 billion smartphones are in use across the world each day. Additional key global findings include:
- There are 4.4 billion internet users in 2019, an increase of 366 million or 9% percent compared to 2018.
- There are 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world today, up 100 million (2%) in the past year.
- There are 3.5 billion social media users, an increase of 288 million or 9% versus same time last year.
- There are 3.3 billion people use social media on mobile devices, up 297 million new users or 10% compared to 2018.
Internet users , on average, spend 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day, on par with one year ago. Users appear to follow similar usage patterns worldwide; Google sites dominate, Google.com ranking #1 and YouTube at #3 and in between is Facebook at #2.
Social media users grew to 3.5 billion users in 2019, driving global penetration to 45%. GlobalWebIndex reports that the average social media user now spends 2 hours and 16 minutes each day on social platforms, up slightly (one minute) compared to last year. Roughly one-third of the total internet time is spent on social media.
Social usage appears to be dominated by Facebook and Instagram. Despite numerous data breaches and privacy practice violations, Facebook remains the top-ranking platform with 2.3 billion monthly active users (MAU) worldwide. Instagram, owned by Facebook, also has a strong audience base with 895 million actives uses, growing by more than 4% in the last three months.
Twitter and Snapchat both showed declines in their global users. Twitter’s total addressable audience at 250.8 million fell 1.5% and Snapchat’s 306.5 million total addressable audience declined 10% since October 2018.
We Are Social predicts more attrition and consolidations in social platforms, especially for Twitter and Snapchat. The report also predicts that social platforms will continue to evolve and center on decentralization and privacy. One example of this is a new innovative platform called Solid. The platform does not live in any one place. The user registers an identity and gets a POD on a Solid server, anywhere in the world. Users decides what data to store on their POD which can include almost anything from documents, photos, calendar events to recipes. The user controls the destiny of the information, where it’s stored, who can access it and who write comments about it. As global consumers grow more tech savvier, they take hold of their social reigns and manage the controls.
As the internet becomes more pervasive, it continues to shape global culture. Moving forward, internet growth will come mainly from developing countries. The internet powerhouses, Google, Facebook and Amazon, will look to user-friendly interfaces to serve these new users. Voice controlled devices will serve well, especially for those countries with lower levels of literacy.