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October 23, 2020
social media usage

Social Media Usage Growing in Emerging Markets but Stalled in Advanced Economies

Social media usage continues to climb inside countries with emerging markets but falls flat in developed nations by comparison…

Context collapse is real. And, it’s not just negatively impacting Facebook. The phenomenon is also present in other social platforms, like Twitter. At least, that’s the inescapable conclusion from the latest Pew report.

From 2015 to 2016, four in ten adults across emerging markets report using social media. In 2017, that increased to 53 percent. Meanwhile, during the same period, social media usage in advanced economies stalled. Additionally, internet use and smartphone ownership stagnated in developed nations yet rose in emerging markets.

Social Media Usage Growing in Emerging Markets but Stalled in Advanced Economies

Pew polled over 40,00 people in 37 countries over about three months, from February to May. Here’s what the Pew study states about internet usage across the globe:

“There has been a steady increase in internet use over the past five years among the 19 emerging and developing economies surveyed. Between 2013 and 2014, a median of 42% across these countries said they accessed the internet at least occasionally or owned a smartphone. By 2017, a median of 64% were online. Meanwhile, internet use among the 17 advanced economies surveyed has remained relatively flat, with a median of 87% across these nations using the internet at least occasionally in 2017, similar to the 86% who said this in 2015 or 2016.”

social media usage Pew data
Credit: Pew

Smartphone use is similar. For example, between 2013 and 2014, about one-quarter of people in emerging countries owned a smartphone. (A device which supports internet access and app functionality.) By 2017, that figure rose to 42 percent. Meanwhile, in advanced nations, 72 percent reported owning a smartphone. That’s the same number from 2015 to 2016.

Such figures clearly demonstrate social media is plateauingĀ in advanced countries but is still growing in emerging economies. Read the full Pew report here.