More than half of the people on Earth now use social media ~ Hootsuite / We Are Social Report

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More than half of the people on Earth now use social media ~ Hootsuite / We Are Social Report

If you look around, it’s starting to feel like everyone is on social media these days — scrolling through TikTok videos, engaging with photos and stories on Instagram, carrying out conversations on Twitter or connecting with people on Facebook. It might not be everyone, but according to the latest D​igital 2020 ​report from H​ootsuite,​ and We Are Social, more than half the world’s population now uses social media.


The report shows that ​3.96 billion people use social media today—that’s approximately 51 percent of the global population.​ With a large number of social media companies restricting the use of their platforms to people aged 13 and above, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the world’s total ‘eligible’ population now uses social media.

Says Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite: “As expected, the data confirms that we’ve seen huge shifts in social and digital behaviour since COVID-19 lockdowns started around the world. Social media and messenger use has skyrocketed and even digital advertising has been forced to become more adaptive and agile.

“The challenge organisations—from business to nonprofits to government agencies to healthcare organisations—face today is how to manage all of these rapid shifts. Organisations need a holistic approach to managing their social and digital communications to remain connected while also listening to the changing social conversations to help ensure they are purposefully engaging with their audience.”

Worldwide social media user numbers have surged by more than 10 percent over the past 12 months, with an average of m​ ore than 1 million people using social media for the first time every day since this time last year​. With more than 376 million new users since July 2019, that translates to almost 1​ 2 new users every second​, suggesting that user numbers are growing even faster today than they were at the start of 2020.

Says Nathan McDonald, global chief executive, We Are Social: “Our lives are becoming increasingly interwoven with the digital world, and the acceleration of social media use globally is another reflection of this. It’s significant that so many of us are now on social media, using it in a variety of different ways; for news, opinions, information and entertainment; to socialise and, increasingly, to inform purchase decisions.

“Social media has been an integral part of the way we communicate with one another for a long time, but this evolution shows just how much it impacts multiple aspects of our lives right now, and in the future.”

In terms of platform success, Instagram and LinkedIn have enjoyed impressive recent growth. Brands can now reach 1.08 billion people using ads on Instagram, with the platform adding 111 million new users —more than 1 million a day — to its advertising reach in the past three months. Meanwhile, LinkedIn now has 700 million registered users; the platform’s global user base grew by more than 25 million over the past 3 months, equating to quarter-on-quarter growth of almost 4 percent.

Says Heather Cook, general manager, Hootsuite Australia & New Zealand: “Since the onset of COVID-19, New Zealanders’ digital behaviours have evolved substantially, with 38% of New Zealanders spending more time on social media in recent weeks. New Zealanders’ digital and social behaviours are evolving rapidly, whether it’s shopping and transacting online with 72% of New Zealanders buying something online in the past month, finding news on social, or parents staying up to date on their kids’ health and education through the use of apps.

“By leveraging and leading with real-time data and insights, companies can achieve better cut-through and audience engagement, and consumers can make better purchasing decisions.”

Key additional relevant stats from Hootsuite & We Are Social’s Digital 2020 July Global Statshot Report:

  • When it came to paying for any form of digital content, 58% of New Zealanders said they did compared to the rest of the globe (67%).
  • 90% of internet users watch online videos, followed by listening to music streaming services (72%) and watching vlogs (52%)
  • 83% of respondents said the internet helped them cope with the COVID-19 lockdowns, while 67% said it helped them do their job 45% said it helped with shopping, and 44% said getting groceries from food stores.
  • When asked if they planned to keep working from home after the pandemic, 22% of Kiwis said they would.
  • 21% of New Zealanders said they would continue using video conferencing platforms after the pandemic, compared to the global average of 35%.
  • Zoom was the most used video conferencing platform in June with 300 million meeting participants per day, followed by Google Meet (100 million per day) and Microsoft Teams (75 million per day).
  • 72% of Kiwis said they bought something online in the last month, but only 30% said they were likely to keep shopping online after the pandemic.
  • 33% of respondents said they discovered new brands and products through search engines, followed by TV ads (31%), word-of-mouth (27%), and social media ads (26%).
  • When asked if brands should continue to advertise as normal during the COVID-19 crisis, 54% of Kiwis agreed.

For more data and insights into the use of digital, mobile and social media around the world, see the full July Global Statshot Report, along with Hootsuite’s collection of additional Digital 2020 reports, ​here.