Social media management platform Hootsuite, and socially-led creative agency We Are Social, have released “Digital in 2018,” a report of social media and digital trends around the world.

Representing 239 countries and territories, the seventh annual report finds the number of Internet users in the world has now surpassed the 4 billion mark, putting more than half the global population online. Of that, social media brings nearly 3.2 billion active users online to connect with each other, consume media, interact with brands, and more.

Key findings include:

  • Internet user numbers increased 7 percent in the last 12 months to hit 4.021 billion, or 53 percent of the world’s population
  • Global social media usage has increased by 13 percent in the last 12 months, reaching 3.196 billion users
  • Mobile social media usage has increased by 14 percent year over year to 2.958 billion users, with 93 percent of social media users accessing social from mobile
  • Internet users are projected to spend a combined total of 1 billion years online in 2018, of which 325 million years will be spent on social media

In the past year, 16 million people started using social media platforms in the US – an increase of 7 percent. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans use social media and spend two hours a day on social platforms. Overall, Americans spend 6.5 hours a day using the Internet, 60 percent more time than they spend watching television.

 

The report also found that global growth of the Internet is propelling ecommerce forward, with 1.77 billion Internet users purchasing consumer goods online in 2017, an increase of 8 percent compared to a year ago. Collectively, consumers spent a total of USD $1.474 trillion on ecommerce platforms in the past 12 months, 16 percent more than in 2016.

“With four billion people now online, connectivity is already a way of life for most of us, says Simon Kemp of We Are Social. “However, as Internet companies strive to serve the next billion users, we’ll see important changes in digital over the coming months. Audio-visual content will take priority over text – especially in social media and messaging apps – while voice commands and cameras will replace keyboards as our primary means of input. Social relationships and online communities will evolve to accommodate these new ways for people to interact with each other. This will result in rich new experiences for all of us, but businesses need to start preparing for these changes today.”

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