2015 Worldwide Trends and Data for Digital, Social and Mobile [Global + 30 Country Reports]

The wonderful folks at GlobalWebIndex have been great partners to WeAreSocial over the years, most recently helping them to put together a superlative report on digital stats from around the world.

Look through We Are Social’s comprehensive new Digital, Social and Mobile Worldwide in 2015 report, and it’s clear why fast-growth markets are now so important to digital and social trends: regions such as APAC and LatAm contain online populations which are not only vast in size but which are growing at phenomenal year-on-year rates.

What’s more, GlobalWebIndex’s data shows that digital consumers in these fast-growth/emerging markets are some of the most engaged when it comes to online behaviour. They’ve been tracking the daily time that people spend on various forms of media since 2012; by asking 170,000 annual respondents how long they typically devote to the internet as well as online and offline forms of TV, press and radio, they’ve been able to build a detailed profile of daily media behaviors. The results show that the internet is capturing more and more of our time each day – with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5.55 in 2012 to 6.15 in 2014.

One of the drivers of this is still-increasing levels of engagement with social networks, which have climbed from a daily average of 1.61 to 1.72 hours over the period in question. This offers important food-for-thought given that some commentators still like to proclaim the “end of social networking”. In actual fact, we’re spending more time on networks now than in the earlier part of the decade – with the rise of the mobile internet, and the ability it affords us to connect to a still-widening range of networks at any time and from any location, being a major driver of this.

Time-Spent-Social-Networking-by-Country

Click image to enlarge: Average number of hours per day spent using social networks, by country. NB: GlobalWebIndex have calculated these average times using data for all internet users (including those who do not use social media at all), whereas the figures in We Are Social’s Digital, Social, & Mobile 2015 report are averages based on the same source data, but which do not include the data for non-social media users.

That said, engagement with social networking can vary significantly from country-to-country. Typically, it is highest in fast-growth/emerging nations where online populations are skewed towards young, urban and affluent demographics (all of these being characteristics which increase an individual’s likelihood of being a social networker).

The Philippines posts the highest figure of all (with a sizeable 3.42 hours), but LatAm countries follow very closely behind. It’s hardly a surprise that there’s a very strong correlation with usage of the mobile internet here; where the mobile web scores well, we typically see social networking accounting for large amounts of daily media time too.

At the other end of the spectrum, we find the lowest amounts of time being devoted to networks in a number of mature markets; here, internet penetration rates are normally very high, meaning the corresponding online populations have a much broader / higher age profile, and are more representative of the country’s total population.

In short, older segments are better represented in mature nations but are some of the least enthusiastic about social networking – something which has an obvious impact on national averages. Japan appears at the very bottom of the table, with just 0.30 hours spent on networking per day; the lack of enthusiasm for networks generally – and for Facebook in particular – are key local factors in this market. Behind this are other mature APAC markets such as Australia as well as most of the European countries tracked by GWI.

Given these geographic and demographic patterns, it’s hardly a surprise that internet users in fast-growth nations are also the biggest “multi-networkers” (those who maintain accounts on the highest number of social platforms). Indonesia tops the table here, with internet users typically being members of 7.39 networks, but it’s in China where people are most likely to actively use the greatest number of social networks (4.27 per internet user). That there are so many local platforms in China is a major contributor to this, as is the fact that leading global names such as Facebook are not as off-limits as is often assumed.

In some studies – especially those based on data from passively collected analytics – it’s still common to see Chinese usage of Facebook, Twitter and similar sites recorded as zero. This is a major mistake; there are in fact a number of ways that Chinese internet users are bypassing official restrictions on social networks, including accessing via apps (16% in China say that they have used the Facebook app in the last 30 days, and a look at the top apps being downloaded in China on a daily basis shows that Western social networks feature very prominently within the list).

Average-Number-of-Social-Networks-481x500

Click image to enlarge: Average number of active social media accounts maintained by internet users, broken down by age and by country.

Significantly, VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps are also being widely downloaded in China – with these tools representing the other major access route for those Chinese users looking to bypass official restrictions. Close to a fifth of online adults in China in fact say they’ve used a VPN in order to access restricted websites or social platforms.

Not only does this trend underline the potential limitations of using passively collected, geo-located data in isolation – which can over-estimate the size of social audiences in markets such as the USA, Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden, where VPN and Proxy servers tend to be located – it also emphasizes the growing futility of attempting to prevent national audiences from accessing certain sites. Most clearly of all, though, it demonstrates why networking behaviors in China – as well as in many other fast-growth markets – are much more diversified and sophisticated than is often assumed.

[Source: We Are Social]

3 hot-topics for your eCommerce: Social Users, Webrooming and Showrooming

2014 has seen the most concerted efforts so far by some of the world’s biggest social networks to integrate e-commerce into their platforms. And, as a recent GWI Commerce report shows, it’s a move which is likely to resonate with significant sections of the social audience.
Globally, 7 in 10 active Facebook users say they have bought a product online in the past month, with the equivalent figure among Twitter’s active user base climbing to approach the three-quarter mark.
What’s more, a quarter of internet users say that social network-based retail stores make them more likely to purchase online – with a notable peak among Twitter users. In this context, it’s not hard to see why both Twitter and Facebook are trialing ‘Buy’ buttons in the hopes of opening up new and lucrative revenue streams.

20141119_social_VS_ecommerce_chart

Let’s also take a look at the impact of webrooming (where products are researched online but bought in-store) and showrooming (when items are tested in-store and then purchased online).
With the chart looking at the ratio of online researchers to buyers across nearly 30 different product categories, it’s clear that there are some big differences in evidence.
Where the ratio is above 1 – meaning there are more researchers than purchasers – the products in question are susceptible to webrooming. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is most likely to be taking place for big-ticket items such as cars, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and games consoles. Internet users might be discovering and researching them online, but the purchase journey is being completed inside a physical retail environment – whether to take advantage of customer service, to “test” the product or to gain a sense of reassurance about their financial outlay.
In contrast, many other categories have more purchasers than researchers and hence have a ratio below 1. Some of these products are simply too low in value, or else are purchased so habitually or on the basis of deals, that no research is necessary. But there are others where a degree of showrooming is likely to be taking place – as with clothes and shoes. Evidently, some consumers are using retail stores to find correct styles and sizes, but then purchasing the products online to get the best prices. And this is a trend that’s likely to have special importance as we approach the Christmas period when people invest greater amounts of time and energy in locating the best presents.

20141119_showrooming_webrooming_ecommerce_chart

Free delivery is the most effective Online Purchase Driver, followed by Rewards and Customer Reviews

As explored in the new GWI Commerce report, free delivery is the most effective online purchase driver. Of the 15 different options tracked by GWI, it’s this measure which scores the highest response globally – with 4 in 10 internet users saying it makes them more likely to purchase something online.
The power of free delivery is far from even across regions, though. It exerts its biggest impact in Europe and North America but is less important in a market like China (where internet users instead place the highest premium on customer reviews and feedback).
As the chart demonstrates, other important global motivators include:

  • Financial rewards such as coupons or discounts (35%)
  • Customer reviews (34%)
  • Loyalty points (29%)

For reviews, though, there’s a clear disconnect between supply and demand; from market to market, there are more people writing reviews than actively looking for them.

20141112_Purchase_motivatore_ecommerce

 

[Source: GlobalWebIndex]

The State of Social Media Platforms Q4 2012 by GlobalWebIndex

Data collected in GWI.8 (Q4 2012) demonstrates the continued shift in usage from localised social platforms to global ones with huge growth for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. The fastest growing network in 2013 in terms of “Active Usage” (defined as “Used or contributed to in the past month”) was Twitter which grew 40% to 288m across our 31 markets (approximately 90% of global internet population). 21% of the global internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis. This compares to 21% actively using YouTube, 25% actively using Google+ and a staggering 51% using Facebook on a monthly basis.

For those who follow the GlobalWebIndex regularly, it is important to note that between Q2 and Q4 2012 we revised our universe figures, based on newly available public data on country level internet population aged 16 to 64. This revision has also been applied to historical numbers and has lowered the figures slightly down, but proportionally, the numbers remain the same as in previous iterations of the research. The trends we’ve seen remain and are becoming ever clearer as we move forward.

https://i2.wp.com/globalwebindex.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/graph1.png

https://i0.wp.com/globalwebindex.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/graph2.png

Facebook battles back against “Facebook fatigue”

Something we’re seeing in our initial findings is an return to growth for Facebook. We now estimate that Facebook has 903m accounts across 31 markets among 16-65 year olds. If we scale this up to the remaining 10% of global internet users we do not yet survey and factor in accounts for under-16s and over-65s our estimates fall in line with Facebook’s claimed 1 billion user figure.

2012 saw Facebook shrug off the potential for Facebook fatigue and saturation in a spectacular way with active users growing 33% to 693m users globally. Watch out for an in-depth post on this later this week where we’ll dig deeper into the numbers.

Google+ grows to become 2nd largest social platform globally

Google+, who despite being branded a failure or ghost town by large portions of the media, grew in terms of active usage by 27% to 343m users to become the number 2 social platform. Interestingly for Google, YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at number 3, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer. This is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is so key to the future of search and the internet. We’ve got more coming on Google+ later this week as well.

Local social platforms in marked decline

The growth in the large, global social platforms is coming broadly at the expense of local services like MeinVz, Hyves, Copains d’Avant. Even more interestingly, we are seeing a large decline across the board in local Chinese services with Tencent Weibo, Kaixin, Sina Weibo and QZone all declining substantially, up to 57% in the case of Tencent Weibo.

The case of China is interesting, but not unexpected. Social networks / services grew massively from 2009 to 2012 and some saturation is expected despite China being the world’s most socially active market. There are, however, some other reasons for declines in active usage that we have identified:

  • There are many networks, and it’s inevitable, despite China’s huge population and growing internet penetration that such a large number of mass market networks cannot be maintained;
  • Growing government clamp down with real names and phone number becoming the required standard for signing up;
  • Shifting of usage to more informal social media including blogs and forums, where privacy is easier to maintain;
  • Growth of apps and mobile;
  • Growth of international networks through proxy servers, VPNs, access through multi-national company networks and mobile apps.

https://i2.wp.com/globalwebindex.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/graph3.png

[Source: GlobalWebIndex]