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More Than Half of the People on earth now use social media

Simon Kemp | We Are Social

A new Digital 2020 July Global Statshot report, created in partnership with Hootsuite, reveals that – for the first time – more than half of the world’s total population now uses social media. DataReportal analysis shows that 3.96 billion people use social media today, accounting for roughly 51 percent of the global population.

Put simply, this means that more people now use social media than do not.

This milestone is all the more impressive when we consider that most social media companies restrict the use of their platforms to people aged 13 and above. In fact, the latest numbers indicate that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the world’s total ‘eligible’ population now uses social media.

And adoption is still growing rapidly. Worldwide user numbers have surged by more than 10 percent over the past 12 months, with an average of more than 1 million people starting to use social media for the first time every single day since this time last year.

With more than 376 million new users since July 2019, that translates to almost 12 new users every second, suggesting that user numbers are growing even faster today than they were at the start of 2020.

The future still isn’t evenly distributed
The story varies considerably by geography, however. Nearly 70 percent of the total population in Northern America uses social media today, compared to just 7 percent in Middle Africa.

That figure for Middle Africa rises to 12 percent if we focus on populations aged 13 and above, but that still means only 1 in 8 people across the region who are eligible to use social media do so today.

Use also differs by gender, with the data suggesting that there are almost 1.2 men for every woman using social media around the world today.This ‘gender divide’ reflects a broader pattern in both mobile and internet use, but it’s important to stress that the picture varies considerably by country and by region.For example, women account for more than half (55 percent) of all social media users in Northern America, but barely one quarter (25 percent) of users across Southern Asia. Women are also under-represented across Africa, where they account for less than 2 in 5 of the region’s social media users.

However, there are encouraging signs that this gender divide is closing, with our analysis indicating that the global social media ratio has narrowed from a 45:55 split (women to men) at the start of 2020, to 46:54 today.

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