Internet Users in Emerging Markets Flock to Social Networks (Report)

By David Cohen Comment


Obviously, fewer people in developing and emerging countries have access to smartphones and the Internet, but those who do are ravenous social network users.

According to a new study by Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Internet users across the 40 countries it surveyed used social networking sites, with the most avid users coming from regions with less access to the Internet:

  • Middle East: 86 percent
  • Latin America: 82 percent
  • Africa: 76 percent
  • U.S.: 71 percent
  • Europe: 65 percent

Other findings by Pew included:

  • Social network use was most prevalent among adults in Jordan (90 percent), Indonesia (89 percent), the Philippines (88 percent), Venezuela (88 percent) and Turkey (87 percent).
  • 76 percent of online users in Israel, 73 percent in Canada and 71 percent in the U.S. say they use social networking sites, while those numbers drop to 51 percent in Japan and 50 percent in Germany.
  • In China, where social networks including Facebook are blocked, the percentage of Internet users who reported using social networking sites rose to 63 percent in 2015 from 48 percent in 2013.
  • Millennials are more likely to be social network users than those 35 and over, with significant age gaps in 30 of the 40 countries studied by Pew.
  • 81 percent of online Germans aged 18 through 34 use social networks, versus 39 percent of older online Germans. The figures for France are 83 percent and 42 percent, respectively, and large gaps can also be found in Vietnam (37 percent), Poland (35 percent) and Japan (35 percent).

Pew said in its study:

Overall, Internet users in emerging and developing countries are more likely to use social media compared with those in the developed world. It is important to remember, however, that Internet access rates in the emerging and developing world still trail those of advanced economies, so the number of people participating in social networking is still smaller as a share of the total population in many of these emerging countries.

Once online, people in emerging and developing nations are hungry for social interaction. Majorities of adult Internet users in almost every emerging and developing nation surveyed say that they use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Comparatively fewer online adults in advanced economies say they use social networks, although one-half or more still report using social media in these countries. It is important to note that while Internet users in emerging and developing economies are more likely to use social networks, access rates are lower in many of these nations; as a result, many people are still left out of the social networking experience. But in most of the countries surveyed, millennials are more likely to use social media.

Readers: Did any of the findings by Pew surprise you?

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