Digital Around the World

4.88 billion people around the world use the internet in October 2021 – that’s almost 62 percent of the world’s total population. 

This number is still growing too, with our latest data showing that 222 million new users came online over the past twelve months.

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Internet users are currently growing at an annual rate of 4.8 percent, equating to an average of more than 600,000 new users each day. 

However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on internet user research, so actual growth figures may be much higher that this rate suggests.

Most internet users (90.9 percent) use mobile devices to go online at least some of the time, but computers also account for an important share of internet activity.

Roughly two-thirds of internet users in the world’s larger economies go online via laptops and desktops for at least some of their connected activities.

Global Digital Overview October 2021 DataReportal

Social media use continues to grow too, with global users reaching 4.55 billion in October 2021. 

That’s equal to 57.6 percent of all the people on Earth.

The number of social media users has increased by 9.9 percent over the past 12 months.

409 million new users joined social media between October 2020 and October 2021, equating to growth of more than 1.1 million new users every day.

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Well over 9 in 10 of the world’s internet users already use social media each month, and seven social media platforms now claim to have more than 1 billion monthly active users (check out our dedicated social media page for loads more social media stats).

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the world has a mobile phone, with smartphones accounting for almost 4 in 5 of all the mobile handsets in use today.

Looking for more stats? Our Digital 2021 October Global Statshot Report has all the latest need-to-know digital stats from around the world. 

You can read the full report in the SlideShare embed below (see here if that’s not working for you), but click here if you’d like to dig deeper into all of the context, trends, and implications of these numbers.

Alternatively, scroll down this page to find a summary of all the key headlines.

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Essential headlines

Internet use around the world

  • There are 4.88 billion internet users in the world today.

  • The total number of internet users around the world grew by 222 million in the past 12 months – more than 600,000 new users each day.

  • Globally, internet user numbers are growing at an annual rate of almost 5 percent, but year-on-year growth is much higher in many developing economies. Research restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have also limited updates to internet user numbers over the past year, so we anticipate that actual growth will be well above the rate implied in the latest data.

  • The average global internet user spends almost 7 hours online each day.

  • Added together, the world’s internet users will spend more than 1.3 billion years of human time online in 2021.021.

Overview of Global Internet Users October 2021 DataReportal

Essential social media stats

  • There are 4.55 billion social media users in the world today – equivalent to 57.6 percent of the world’s total population.

  • The number of social media users around the world grew by 409 million in the past 12 months

  • Globally, social media users are growing at a rate of 9.9 percent per year, with the average social media user visiting or using 6.7 different social platforms every month.

  • GWI reports that the average global user spends 2 hours 27 minutes on social media each day, which means the world spends more than 10 billion hours using social media every day.

Overview of Global Social Media Users October 2021 DataReportal

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Mobile stats from around the world

  • There are 5.29 billion unique mobile phone users in the world today, according to the latest data from GSMA Intelligence.

  • The total number of unique mobile users around the world grew by 97 million in the past 12 months.

  • Unique mobile users are currently growing at a rate of 1.9 percent per year. However, hundreds of millions of people have also upgraded from ‘feature’ phones to smartphones in the past 12 months.

  • The latest data from Ericsson show that the number of mobile subscriptions associated with smartphones has reached 6.4 billion, accounting for nearly 4 in 5 of the mobile handsets in use around the world today.

  • The number of smartphones in use is growing at an annual rate of 5.6 percent, with an average of close to 1 million new smartphones coming into use every day.

Overview of Global Mobile Use October 2021 DataReportal

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Essential global ecommerce stats

  • Nearly 6 in 10 internet users aged 16 to 64 buy something online every week, according to the latest data from GWI.

  • More people now make purchases via mobile devices than via desktop and laptop computers.

  • The amount of money spent on online consumer goods purchases in 2020 exceeded US$2.4 trillion, an increase of more than 25 percent compared to 2019 levels.

  • Statista reports that the average ecommerce shopper spends more than US$700 per year on online purchases of consumer goods.

  • The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on online travel spend, with annual revenues falling by more than 50 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Weekly Online Shopping Activity October 2021 DataReportal

 

Note: we update the numbers on this page on a regular basis, so if you’d like to link to a specific set of stats, you’d be safer linking to one of our ‘static’ reports – click here if you’d like some help finding the right one.

More global insights

You’ll find links to some of our latest reports below, but simply click here if you’d like to search our complete library of in-depth insights and trends.

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