The internet has recently reached a new milestone as it now counts about four billion people as its users.
This is according to Digital in 2018, a report of social media and digital trends around the world published by the social-media management platform Hootsuite and socially-led creative agency We Are Digital.
Representing 239 countries and territories, the seventh edition of the annual report finds that internet users across the globe now comprise more than half the global population.
In addition, the report revealed an increase in the number of social-media users at 3.2 billion active users, while global social-media usage increased as well by 13 per cent. This is more evident in the mobile social-media usage figures which noted a 14 per cent increase as 93 per cent of social media users access social media through their mobile devices.
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 per cent compared to a year ago. Collectively, consumers spent a total of USD $1.474 trillion on eCommerce platforms in the past 12 months.
On the Australian scene, more than half a million Australians started using the internet last year, bringing nearly 90 percent of the population online. Australians are spending 80 percent more time on the internet than watching television. Two-thirds of Australians are using social media each month, spending almost 100 minutes on social platforms each day.
“The Digital in 2018 report highlights the continuing growth of the internet and social media to individuals and businesses around the world,” said Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite. “This dynamic has forever altered the customer journey as consumers and B2B professionals increasingly conduct research, make buying decisions, seek support, and recommend brands online. To achieve competitive advantage, all executives must dive deep into digital now, meeting their customers where they are to best market, sell, and serve them.”
“With four billion people now online, connectivity is already a way of life for most of us,” said Simon Kemp, Global Consultant for 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.”
A snapshot of internet and social media usage in Australia is illustrated by this infopgraphic: