According to a report by eMarkerter, a research firm, social media companies such as Facebook will recording a user increase of approximately 8% per month in 2017. Currently about one third of the global population, or about 2.46 billion people, are monthly active users of social media. This is about 71% of all the users of the internet across the globe and is an increase of 8.2% year-over-year.
“For much of the world, social networks are a way to stay connected with friends and family,” said eMarketer’s forecasting analyst and author of the report, Corey McNair.
The increasing number of users of social media has been attributed to the proliferation of mobile devices around the world including cheap smartphones running on the Android operating system. Additionally, the rolling out of 4G and 3G networks and rising access to Wi-Fi has also contributed to the trend. This year about 81% of users of social media will access their favorite social media platforms through mobile devices. In the next four years that figure will rise to about 86%
Some of the highest growth regions are in Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia Pacific countries. In those parts of the world where use of social media platforms has existed for a longer period, growth will be minimal. This includes the United States and Europe where growth in users this year is expected to be 2.9% and 3.4% respectively. One observation made by the researchers was that the embracing of video content by social media platforms isn’t a factor in pushing user growth in established markets.
China and India
In the areas where growth is expected to be high, China stands out due to the rapid growth that is expected. As a result of new data which shows that growth will be higher than previously thought especially in the 45-and-above demographic, eMarketer has had to significantly raise its forecast. Another market likely to experience rapid growth is India where the forecasts on the number of monthly active users has been upped.
The report by eMarketer coincides with the number of active monthly users on Facebook exceeding 2 billion in June this year. Reaching the next billion will, however, be tougher though the social media giant is betting on markets outside Europe and the United States to a country like China. However, the social media platform has been banned in China since 2009.