A new report has found that 53% of the global population is now online, pushing the total over four billion.
According to the ‘Digital in 2018’ report, compiled by social media scheduling tool Hootsuite and creative company We Are Social, found that 4.021bn people are now able to enjoy an internet connection.
The number of internet users is up by 7% on last year, and the growth is being spearheaded by Africa. The continent has seen a 20% year-on-year increase in connecting its people.
Western Africa is embracing the web at a particularly rapid rate, with Mali’s number of reported web users now nearly six times larger than in January 2017. Several other countries in the region have more than doubled their number within a year, including Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone.
The report also looks at how much time the average person in each country claims to spend online. Thailand holds the honour of being the nation most hooked to the internet, with the average Thai spending 9 hours and 38 minutes of every day on the net. The Philippines is only seven minutes behind in second place, with Brazil in third. In the UK, we spend a more modest 5 hours and 51 minutes on the internet per day, which is more than the likes of Germany and Australia, but less than the U.S. and Russia.
Social media is continuing to grow too, especially via mobile devices. The report shows that within the last year, the number of people classed as ‘active mobile social users’ has shot up by 14% globally. In fact, a comfortable majority of internet users (almost 80%) use social media of some sort.
Also, the world is spending more and more on e-commerce, with the amount over the last year coming in at $1.474 trillion (£1.04 trillion). This is a 16% increase year on year.
Slow internet connection continues to hold global uptake back however, with the difference between the world’s fastest country (Norway at 61.2 megabytes per seconds) and the slowest (Iraq at 4.2 megabytes per second) being enormous.
In many ways, these stats are only confirmation of what we already know – that the internet is growing globally by the year, that mobile is increasing the number of people accessing it and the time they spend doing so, and that the web is an immense part of the global economy.