In a world where social media is everywhere we look, it’s hard to imagine a time where platforms like Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist. According to the Global Digital Report 2019, there has been a 9% increase in global social media usage since January 2018 and the number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.725 billion. However, not all countries use social media to the same extent.

So, which countries use social media the most?

As of January 2019, Statista reported that the top 5 countries that have the highest social media penetration are the UAE at 99%, Taiwan at 89%, South Korea at 85%, Singapore at 79% and Hong Kong at 78%. Countries that have the lowest social media penetration are Nigeria at 12%, Kenya at 16%, Ghana at 19%, India at 23%, and South Africa and Egypt at 40%. These statistics are based on the amount of active social media users for the top social networks in each country compared to the total population.

Why do some countries use social media more than others?

The main reason why these countries may use social media more than others is most likely related to the economy of that country, as the 5 countries with the lowest social media penetration are predominately developing countries compared to the UAE and Singapore that have strong economies. Another reason may be due to the average age within that countries population being lower, as studies show that younger generations use social media more than older generations.  Another reason could be due to the culture of that country, as some cultures are a lot more social than others and this could mean that they value social media a lot more. The economy of that country could also be a contributing factor as the 5 countries with the lowest social media penetration are also predominately developing countries.

What do these stats mean for market research?

If you’re targeting countries in the top 5, like the UAE for example, then it would be crazy to not heavily invest in social media marketing as the UAE’s social media penetration is nearly 30% more than the US and the UK.

That being said, not all countries use the same social media platforms, and countries tend to favour one platform more than another. For example in the UAE Facebook is more popular than Instagram and Twitter, whereas in Taiwan YouTube is the most popular platform beating both Instagram and Twitter by nearly 40%. Therefore, when looking into social media for market research or other marketing purposes it is important to take note of what platforms are the most popular in that country, otherwise there’s no point!