We are social: the 2021 report

We are social: the 2021 report

How much have we been online recently? Has there been an increased use of electronic devices? Which countries are more connected in a “virtual world”?

This year We Are Social, in collaboration with Hootsuite, came out with a Report on the digital behaviors of users globally.

We would first like to point out the increase in the world population over the last year, which has grown by 1%.

There are currently 7.83 billion people on the planet (compared to 7.75 billion last year). Of these, 56.4% are urbanized (compared to 55% last year).

Internet Use Has Grown

Internet use, affected by the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, continues to rise, increasing by 7.3% from January 2020 to January 2021.The number of people using social networks increased 13.2% globally, totaling 490 million new web surfers.

This growth was seen all around the world, with a minimum of +1% in countries where the Internet was already widely used (such as Northern Europe), while the phenomenon had a higher growth in developing countries. In Southeast Asia, for example, there was a peak of +9.6%.

However, African countries were most affected, with a growth of +17.2% in western countries and +21.3% in central countries.

The smartphone: the most-used device

As the report shows, most users have the same preferred tool as last year: the smartphone.

In fact, of people ages 15-64 who own their own device, 97.1% have a cell phone (of which, a whopping 96.6% are smartphones). The desktop computer takes second place with 64.4%, followed by the tablet at 34.3%.

How many hours do we spend on electronic devices?

The average time spent daily online is 6 hours and 54 minutes (compared to 6 hours and 43 minutes last year).

We spend an average of 3 hours and 24 minutes watching TV, 2 hours and 25 minutes on social networks, 2 hours and 2 minutes reading the news, 2 hours and 31 minutes listening to music or the radio, and 1 hour and 12 minutes playing video games.

It should be noted that the time spent using a mobile device (tablet or smartphone) has risen by 20% compared to the year prior. Of the time spent using one of these devices, 44% of that time is spent on apps designed to connect us with others, 26% for pure enjoyment of content (such as watching videos or listening to music), 9% on recreational apps, and the remaining 21% on other apps.

Social media networks are, therefore, confirmed to be the main communication tool.

Just as it was last year, the United Arab Emirates is the most active country in terms of social media, while Nigeria is still in last place.

Which social networks are used most?

The potential Facebook audience amounts to 2.18 billion people, holding its place as the world’s most popular social network. The number of monthly users who are consistently active has grown by 12% in 2020 and those who use it the most are between 25 and 34 years old. 98.8% of users access it through a smartphone.

The most used social messaging tool used to get in touch with people is Whatsapp, which has 2 billion users worldwide.

The use of Instagram is growing (also in terms of business), for a potential audience of 1.22 billion people. Those who use it the most are between 25 and 30 years old (at 33%), with the youngest age group, 18-24 years old, coming in second (at 29.8%). The number of followers increased by 1.68% compared to last year.

YouTube remains a widely popular platform (it has a user base of two billion people), but, compared to other social networks, it shows an imbalance in its use according to gender: men, in fact, use it more than women.

Another tool growing in popularity is LinkedIn, with a user base of 727.6 million people, followed by Snapchat (498.2 million users) and Twitter (353.1 million).

What does the increase in the use of social networks imply?

As we pointed out last year, the increase in the use of social networks, on the one hand, leads to both physical and mental laziness, while on the other hand, it reduces individuals’ ability to communicate directly and “authentically” with each other: we prefer dialogue through messaging, rather than face-to-face.

Additionally, the dangers related to privacy are increasing, since we use social networks spontaneously and carelessly, almost without realizing that what goes on the Internet will remain there forever.

However, this trend, which in some ways is worrying, should be seen this year in the context of a global health crisis that has not allowed human relationships to take place easily “in person.”

In the midst of a gradual improvement – while we await for a definitive exit from the crises generated by the pandemic – it would be nice if each of us tried to enthusiastically look for the essence of real life, in which we feel so many emotions that cannot be replicated on social media.

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