Wednesday January 27, 2021 By David Quintanilla
15.5 Users Join Social Every Second (and Other Key Stats to Know)

When you’re searching for the newest digital insights and social media stats, you’ll discover all of them in our new Digital 2021 experiences sequence.

Revealed in partnership between We Are Social and Hootsuite, this 12 months’s experiences reveal that linked tech turned an much more important a part of folks’s lives over the previous 12 months, with social media, ecommerce, streaming content material, and video video games all seeing vital development up to now 12 months.

Among the key themes to search for on this 12 months’s experiences embrace:

  • Adjustments in how folks seek for data and types;
  • The evolving demographics of on-line audiences;
  • The quickly rising significance of ecommerce;
  • Why cell is important, however not the one reply; and
  • Why it’s time to alter the metrics that information advertising and marketing’s social media ‘combine’.

Just before we get stuck into the numbers, I’d like to thank all of the data partners and providers who’ve made this year’s reports possible, especially:

I’d also like to draw your attention to the important notes on changes to our methodology, which you’ll find on page 6 of the report.

The Digital 2021 Global Overview Report

Read on for my analysis of this year’s top stories.

Essential headlines

Here are the headline stats and trends for the global ‘State of Digital’ in January 2021:

  • Population: the world’s population stood at 7.83 billion at the start of 2021. The United Nations reports that this figure is currently growing by 1% per year, which means that the global total has increased by more than 80 million people since the start of 2020.
  • Mobile: 5.22 billion people use a mobile phone today, equating to 66.6% of the world’s total population. Unique mobile users have grown by 1.8% (93 million) since January 2020, while the total number of mobile connections has increased by 72 million (0.9%) to reach a total of 8.02 billion at the start of 2021.
  • Internet: 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet in January 2021, up by 316 million (7.3%) since this time last year. Global internet penetration now stands at 59.5%. However, COVID-19 has significantly impacted the reporting of internet user numbers, so actual figures may be higher.
  • Social media: there are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world. This figure has grown by 490 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of more than 13%. The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53% of the world’s total population.

chart showing global digital usage

But beyond tasty trivia, what does all of this data tell us about what people are actually doing online?

You’ll find my handy summary of all this year’s top trends below, but if you’d like to dig into any of these stories in more detail – together with some other stories that aren’t included here – head over to, the place you’ll discover our full assortment of Digital 2021 experiences and evaluation.

1. Social media adoption surges

Social media consumer numbers jumped by greater than 13% over the previous 12 months, with practically half a billion new customers taking the worldwide complete to nearly 4.2 billion by the beginning of 2021.

On common, greater than 1.3 million new customers joined social media each day throughout 2020, equating to roughly 15½ new customers each single second.

chart showing global social media usage

The everyday social media consumer now spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media every day, equating to roughly one waking day of their life each week.

chart showing the increase in time spent on social media over time

Added collectively, the world’s social media customers will spend a complete of 3.7 trillion hours on social media in 2021 – equal to greater than 420 million years of mixed human existence.

As we’ve seen in previous years although, there are vital variations between nations.

GWI experiences that Filipinos are nonetheless the world’s greatest customers of social media, spending a mean of 4 hours and quarter-hour per day utilizing social platforms – a full half an hour greater than second-placed Colombians.

On the different finish of the dimensions, customers in Japan say they spend lower than an hour a day on social media, however this 12 months’s determine of 51 minutes continues to be 13% larger than the determine we reported for Japanese customers this time final 12 months.

chart showing how long people spend on social media each day around the globe

2. Mobiles have grow to be our ‘first’ display screen

Information from App Annie reveals that Android customers world wide now spend greater than 4 hours every day utilizing their telephones.

In complete, meaning Android customers spent greater than 3.5 trillion cumulative hours utilizing their telephones over the previous 12 months.

chart showing share of time spent in different types of mobile apps

App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report additionally reveals that mobiles now account for a higher quantity of individuals’s time than dwell TV.

GWI’s information tells the same story. The corporate’s newest analysis finds that the everyday international web consumer now spends 3 hours and 39 minutes every day utilizing the web on their cell phone, in comparison with a complete of three hours and 24 minutes per day watching tv.

For context, meaning the common web consumer now spends roughly 7% longer utilizing linked providers on their cellphone than they do watching TV.

Nonetheless, as we’ll see beneath, cell units nonetheless solely account for about half of our day by day web time.

chart showing daily time spent with different types of media

3. On-line time jumps

In complete, the common web consumer now spends nearly 7 hours per day utilizing the web throughout all units, equating to greater than 48 hours per week on-line – that’s 2 full days out of each 7.

Assuming that the common particular person sleeps for between 7 and eight hours per day, because of this we now spend roughly 42% of our waking lives on-line, and that we spend nearly as a lot time utilizing the web as we do sleeping.

The figures additionally present that individuals are spending extra time on-line every day than they did in earlier years.

The most recent findings from GWI present that the everyday web consumer spent 16 minutes longer on-line every day in Q3 2020 than they did in Q3 2019, representing a year-on-year enhance of 4%.

chart showing changes in time spent using the internet over time

If web use stays at these ranges all through 2021, the world’s web customers will spend nearly 12 trillion hours on-line this 12 months, which interprets to greater than 1.3 billion years of mixed human time.

Nonetheless, as we noticed in last year’s report, there’s vital variation within the period of time that folks in numerous nations spend on-line.

Filipinos report spending the best period of time on-line, at a mean of virtually 11 hours per day.

Brazilians, Colombians, and South Africans additionally say they spend a mean of greater than 10 hours per day on-line.

On the different finish of the dimensions, the Japanese report spending the least period of time on-line, at lower than 4½ hours per day.

Apparently, the determine for China additionally falls on the decrease finish of the spectrum, at simply 5 hours and 22 minutes per day – 1½ hours lower than the worldwide common of 6 hours and 54 minutes.

chart showing how much time people around the world spend on the internet by country

4. On-line search behaviors are altering

Discovering data is the primary cause why folks log on, with nearly two-thirds of the world’s web customers saying that is certainly one of their high motivations.

chart showing reasons people use the internet

Nonetheless, the newest analysis from GWI reveals that the world’s search behaviors are evolving, and this altering conduct has essential penalties for anybody hoping to interact a digital viewers.

Typical search engines like google and yahoo are nonetheless a vital a part of the combination, with an enormous 98% of respondents saying that they use a search engine each month.

Nonetheless, greater than 7 in 10 respondents additionally say that they now use no less than one instrument different than text-based search engines like google and yahoo to seek out data on-line every month.

chart showing online search behaviors

Voice interfaces are the most well-liked various, with 45% of worldwide web customers saying that they used voice search or voice instructions up to now 30 days.

In the meantime, nearly a 3rd of the world’s web customers additionally use picture recognition instruments on their mobiles every month, with instruments like Pinterest Lens and Google Lens seeing significantly robust adoption throughout Latin America and Southeast Asia.

However maybe probably the most fascinating development in evolving search behaviors is the rise of social search.

Roughly 45% of worldwide web customers now say that they flip to social networks when searching for details about services or products that they’re considering of shopping for.

Nonetheless, this determine is even larger amongst youthful customers, with Gen Z customers saying that they’re extra prone to seek for manufacturers on social media than they’re to search for them on search engines like google and yahoo.

chart showing what medium different age ranges prefer for brand research (search engines or social media)

5. A multi-device technique continues to be important

Cell phones now account for 53% of the time that the world spends on-line, however the information clearly reveals that different units nonetheless play essential roles in our linked lives.

chart showing time spent using the internet via mobile devices as a percentage of total daily internet time

GWI information reveals that 9 in 10 web customers log on through their smartphones, however two-thirds additionally say that they use a laptop computer or desktop laptop to entry the web.

It’s price highlighting that cellphones at the moment are probably the most extensively used web gadget in all nations, however the hole between mobiles and computer systems is usually fairly small, particularly in Western Europe.

In the meantime, the newest information from StatCounter reveals that computer systems nonetheless account for a significant share of the world’s internet exercise.

Greater than 40% of internet pages served in December 2020 had been requested by internet browsers operating on laptop computer and desktop units, though the general share of those units is down barely in comparison with December 2019.

chart showing share of web traffic by device (including mobile, desktop/laptop, tablets, and other devices)

6. A extra strategic strategy to social media advertising and marketing

Kepios evaluation of knowledge collected by GWI reveals that no less than 98% of the customers of any given social media platform additionally use no less than one different social platform.

Particular person social platforms are additionally topic to vital viewers overlaps, with 85% of TikTok customers aged 16 to 64 saying they use Fb, and nearly 95% of Instagram customers in the identical age group saying in addition they use YouTube.

chart showing user overlaps on social media platforms

Whereas the overall idea of viewers overlap might not come as a shock, the extent of those overlaps has specific relevance to entrepreneurs.

The important thing takeaway is that manufacturers do not must be lively on each single platform, and actually the information present {that a} presence on only one or two of the bigger platforms provides the potential to achieve nearly the entire world’s social media customers.

For context, no less than 6 platforms now have greater than 1 billion month-to-month lively customers, whereas no less than 17 have greater than 300 million.

chart showing the world's most-used social media platforms

Nonetheless, this doesn’t imply that entrepreneurs ought to focus solely on these bigger platforms.

Certainly, the information assist the argument for a extra strategic, portfolio-based strategy to social media.

Reasonably than focusing all of their consideration on attain, it’s time for entrepreneurs to discover different elements, comparable to the precise inventive alternatives supplied by every platform’s content material codecs, or the totally different engagement alternatives accessible on extra ‘area of interest’ platforms.

So, somewhat than getting distracted by platform consumer numbers, strive asking your self:

  • Who do I wish to have interaction?
  • Why may they be utilizing social media?
  • Which platform(s) shall be most related to their motivations?
  • How can I exploit these channels to realize my desired outcomes?

7. Digging deeper into on-line viewers demographics

We’ve included a wealth of recent charts on this 12 months’s experiences that supply insights into linked actions by age and gender.

Some of the revealing of those charts reveals how adoption of ecommerce varies by demographic.

chart showing ecommerce adoption by age and gender

And the apparent takeaway from this GWI information is that web customers within the Child Boomer technology are solely marginally much less possible to make use of ecommerce than Gen Z and Millennial web customers.

Furthermore, feminine web customers aged 55 to 64 are literally extra prone to store on-line than male web customers aged 16 to 24.

It’s additionally fascinating to notice {that a} vital share of older web customers play video video games.

Maybe unsurprisingly, gaming adoption charges amongst older generations aren’t as excessive as they’re for Gen Z, the place greater than 90% of web customers say they play video games.

Nonetheless, GWI’s information nonetheless reveals that greater than two-thirds of web customers aged 55 to 64 world wide play video video games.

chart showing video game playing by age and gender

One other age-related development is obvious within the newest social media information, which reveals that older age teams are the fastest-growing segments amongst a few of the high platforms’ audiences.

For instance, Fb noticed customers over the age of 65 enhance by roughly 25% over the previous 12 months – that’s nearly double the general common of 13%.

chart showing Facebook's advertising reach by age and gender

Maybe surprisingly, customers over the age of fifty additionally symbolize Snapchat’s fastest-growing demographic.

The variety of customers aged 50 and above that advertisers can attain on Snapchat has grown by roughly 25% up to now 3 months, with male customers on this age group growing by a 3rd.

chart showing quarterly changes in Snapchat advertising reach

Be aware that these Snapchat figures symbolize quarterly development, whereas the Fb figures above showcase annual development.

It’s additionally price noting that these figures symbolize relative development, not share of the absolute enhance in consumer numbers.

For context, customers aged 25 to 34 nonetheless accounted for the best variety of new Fb customers over the previous 12 months, regardless of already being the platform’s largest demographic phase.

Nonetheless, the relative development figures nonetheless display {that a} higher variety of older customers are becoming a member of social platforms.

These evolving demographics might convey new alternatives for entrepreneurs, along with new income streams for platforms and publishers.

8. On-line grocery and the rise of ecommerce

One of many standout digital tales in 2020 was the rise of ecommerce, with the COVID-19 pandemic driving customers all around the world to embrace on-line purchasing.

At a worldwide degree, practically 77% of web customers aged 16 to 64 now say that they purchase one thing on-line every month.

Web customers in Indonesia are the most certainly to make ecommerce purchases, with greater than 87% of the nation’s respondents to GWI’s survey saying that they purchased one thing on-line up to now month.

On the different finish of the spectrum, simply 57% of web customers in Egypt say that they made a web based buy up to now 30 days.

chart showing ecommerce adoption worldwide

In the meantime, what folks have been shopping for over latest months additionally makes for fascinating studying.

Statista experiences that the Style & Magnificence class accounted for the biggest share of worldwide B2C ecommerce revenues in 2020, at greater than US$665 billion.

chart showing global ecommerce spend by category

That is the primary time in our ongoing series of World Digital Reviews that the Journey class hasn’t claimed the biggest share of income, highlighting simply how troublesome latest months have been for journey and tourism manufacturers.

Certainly, Statista experiences that on-line revenues within the Journey, Mobility & Lodging class had been down by greater than 50% year-on-year, leading to a drop of properly over half a trillion US {dollars} in annual shopper spending.

Then again, many different classes noticed robust development in ecommerce revenues in 2020.

Meals & Private Care was the quickest rising shopper ecommerce class in 2020, with COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing measures performing as a catalyst for vital will increase in on-line grocery purchasing.

Worldwide, the class noticed annual revenues exceed US$400 billion in 2020, up by greater than 40% in comparison with the earlier 12 months.

chart showing global ecommerce growth by category

These numbers assist findings that we shared in our Digital 2020 July World Statshot Report, when many web customers stated that they anticipated to proceed with new on-line purchasing behaviors that they’d adopted throughout COVID-19 lockdowns.

Nonetheless, the influence of this development ought to prolong properly past the Meals & Private Care class.

Grocery purchasing tends to be a high-frequency exercise, which implies that folks have had the prospect to develop and embed new on-line purchasing habits over latest months.

As most entrepreneurs know, it may be very troublesome to encourage this type of conduct change – particularly in high-frequency actions – so these new habits symbolize an unparalleled alternative for manufacturers and retailers to redefine the established order.

What to look out for in 2021

Hopefully that’s given you a strong understanding of the ‘state of digital’ immediately.

However what does the longer term maintain?

Based mostly on my evaluation of the information in our ongoing series of World Digital Reviews, listed here are a few of the issues that I’ll be monitoring intently over the approaching months.

The demise of third-party cookies: Google’s Chrome browsers will finish assist for third-party cookies on the finish of 2021, so we are able to count on vital adjustments in advert tech this 12 months, particularly as programmatic platforms reinvent themselves.

Versatile working: ‘working from house’ appears to be like like it can stay an enforced a part of many individuals’s working lives for the foreseeable future, so we must always see additional innovation in services and products designed to assist with distant working over the approaching months, particularly within the areas of communication and ‘staff cohesion’.

Digital disruption: linked services and products will proceed to shake up present classes and create new ones, however I’ll be watching three industries with specific curiosity in 2021:

  • Healthcare, particularly telemedicine and linked providers that assist with psychological wellbeing;
  • Finance, with insurance coverage and cross-border funds each robust contenders for innovation;
  • Training, with governments and philanthropists coming collectively to create more practical options for linked education, whereas corporates focus their consideration on the burgeoning alternatives of on-line ‘upskilling’.

The massive tech breakup: this has been a very long time coming, however lawmakers world wide are signalling that 2021 will be the 12 months of the massive showdown. Nonetheless, the massive query is whether or not Google, Fb, Amazon, or Alibaba will beat them to it, spinning off part elements on their very own phrases earlier than governments power them to take action.

Moveable digital identities: with privateness as soon as once more within the highlight following the latest updates to WhatsApp’s phrases and circumstances, a ‘decentralised’ strategy to digital sign-on might come to the fore. Inrupt is certainly one to look at, nevertheless it’s definitely not the one contender.

Are there some other developments that you’ll be watching in 2021? Ship me your recommendations on Twitter.

And for those who’d like extra tailor-made insights into what the way forward for digital may maintain on your model or enterprise, get in touch with me on LinkedIn to study extra about Kepios’s Quarterly Digital Briefing service.

And at last…

We couldn’t end this 12 months’s evaluation with out an replace to our Pulitzer-worthy protection of one of many web’s most hotly contested battles.

Regardless of elevating the alarm this time last year, it seems that many individuals nonetheless haven’t obtained the memo in regards to the web being invented for sharing pictures of kittens.

#TeamDog managed to publish an extra 44 million #canine posts to Instagram up to now 12 months, whereas #TeamCat solely managed 33 million new #cat posts.

It’s the same story over on Twitter, the place the platform’s promoting instruments reveal that 307 million customers are ‘’ in canine immediately, in comparison with simply 23 million who’re ‘’ in cats.

That’s a marked enchancment on final 12 months’s thousand-to-one ratio (250 million vs. 250 thousand), however canine lovers nonetheless outnumber cat lovers on Twitter by an element of 13 to 1.

We’ll be preserving tabs tabbies on this story once more this 12 months, so look out for future pupdates.

All of this pun-ditry’s in all probability taken up sufficient of your 6 hours and 54 minutes for immediately although, so I’ll paws this 12 months’s evaluation there.

I’ll be again in a few weeks with the primary of our Digital 2021 native nation experiences.

Till then, for those who want any extra stats, try our library of Global Digital Reports.

Uncover the newest information and insights on social media, web, cell, and different digital behaviors within the Digital 2021 Report.

Get the Report

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