Officially not a fad—Internet crosses 4 billion-user mark 

by | Feb 9, 2018 | Marketing, Public Relations

In case you were still thinking this Internet craze might turn out to be the pet rock of the 21st century, new research from social media management platform Hootsuite and socially-led creative agency We Are Social confirms that this world wide web might just be here to stay.

The firms’ seventh annual study, Digital in 2018, which reports on social media and digital trends in 239 countries and territories, 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.

The 2018 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 U.S.—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.

Global growth of the Internet is propelling ecommerce forward

A whopping 1.77 billion Internet users purchased consumer goods online in 2017, an increase of 8 percent compared to a year ago. Collectively, consumers spent a total of $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,” said Simon Kemp, global consultant at We Are Social, in a news release. “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.”

“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, in the release. “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.”

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


11 ways outdoor brands can leverage PR for success

11 ways outdoor brands can leverage PR for success

The call of the wild resonates with many, and outdoor brands hold the coveted key to the door of adventure. Amidst a bustling marketplace brimming with tents, kayaks, and hiking boots, the challenge lies in ensuring one's brand stands out, resonating with the current...