19 Mar 2023

Global Digital Report 2023: We spend a little less time on the internet

The average amount of time we spend online is decreasing globally. Our social media time, on the other hand, is steadily increasing and the platforms continue to gain users every year.

by Lara Hafner

At the beginning of 2023, the mark of 8.01 billion people in the world was reached. Of these, 5.16 billion were online and 4.76 billion were active on social media. These numbers are shown in the Global Digital Report 2023 by we are social and Meltwater, which presents the latest figures on global digital development.

Online time reduced
While internet usage in 2022 averaged almost 7 hours per day, this has decreased by 20 minutes per day within the last 12 months, which corresponds to a decline of almost 5 per cent. One reason for this is the trend towards a more conscious and purposeful use of the internet. 92.3 percent use the internet via a mobile phone, followed by 65.6 percent who use it via a laptop or desktop. Especially in Europe, the computer is still an important gateway to the internet. So «mobile first» does not automatically mean «mobile only».

60 percent of the world’s population on social media
At 4.76 billion, social media users now account for almost 60 percent of the world’s population. In Switzerland, it is even 83 percent of the population.

Strong growth during the pandemic
Social networks gained users especially during the pandemic, largely due to the global restrictions. In 2021, social media platforms recorded an increase of 13.2 percent, while in 2022 the figure was 10.1 percent.

Facebook remains global favourite
Although internet usage has decreased globally, the duration of daily social media use is increasing. We spend more time on social media than ever before: people now spend more than 2.5 hours per day on social networks. Facebook remains by far the global favourite among the platforms, closely followed by YouTube, Whatsapp and Instagram. The biggest time eater, however, is probably TikTok, which takes up almost an entire day with an average of 23.5 hours per month. It is also interesting to note that the majority of young users (16-34 years old) start their search queries about brands and their content on social media instead of using classic search engines.

One third of advertising revenue on social media
Digital advertising is booming: by the beginning of 2023, a third of digital advertising was spent on social media. Since Covid-19, this share has more than doubled. The pandemic has had a significant impact on global ad spend, and the shift to the digital space appears to be growing continuously. Companies are becoming more aware of the potential reach, especially on social media: TikTok even claims to reach 1 billion people with advertising.

The amount of time we spend online may be declining slightly. However, it is shifting more and more to social media platforms and will not decrease anytime soon. There is nothing to suggest that the internet is losing its importance. On the contrary, online activities are being designed more thoughtfully. This is also shown by the great advertising potential on social media. Companies are challenged to keep up with current developments and adapt to the behaviour of their target groups.

Read the full report:

Picture Domenico Loia – Unsplash


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