Syndicate content

Media (R)evolutions: Time spent online continues to rise

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

Roughly how many hours do you spend online each day? How many hours do you spend on social media? If you’re like most people, you’re are spending more and more time online, and you’re spending much of that time on social media networks.

Each year, We Are Social collates key data from multiple sources to make sense of the digital and social trends affecting media and technology. Digital in 2016 is the latest report, and the following graphs illustrate data the organization obtained from the Global Web Index. GWI conducts annual interviews with 200,000 internet users across 33 markets in quarterly waves, each of which has a global sample size of 45,000 – 50,000 internet users.
Amongst the 30 economies surveyed, Filipinos and Brazilians spend the most time using the internet, clocking an impressive 5.2 hours per day on average. Together with Thais, Brazilians also top the list for the amount of time spent using mobile internet, logging an average of 3.9 hours per day on their devices.  Contrary to what you might expect, the Japanese and South Koreans spend the least amount of time on the internet each day, logging only 2.9 and 3.1 hours respectively. This matches previous years in which these countries have been at the bottom of the spectrum.

Time Spent online by We Are Social

Age has a decisive effect on these figures. Although increases in mobile usage are consistent across age groups, 55 to 64 year-olds are adopting mobile internet at a slower pace while 16-24 year-olds use their mobiles to access the internet for an astonishing 3.26 hours a day.  

When asked, “which would you say is the most important device you use to access the internet, whether at home or elsewhere?” those aged 16-24, report spending 44% of their daily time online on a mobile device and 25-34 year-olds say they spend around 39% of their time online on a mobile device.  Furthermore, while we’re not seeing a corresponding drop in time spent on PCs, laptops or tablets, if the upward trend in mobile internet use continues, online activities will increasingly migrate to mobile.

Regarding their activity online, social media continues to be popular. Filipinos also spend the most time on social media out of the 30 economies in the review, spending more than 3.5 hours per day. That’s about two-thirds of their time online!  At the other end of the scale, the Japanese spend an average of less than 20 minutes per day on social media perhaps reflecting, in part, the less amount of time they spend online.

Time Spent on Social Media by We Are Social

On average, adults worldwide have accounts on 5.54 networks and are active on 2.82 of them. This may help to explain why the time spent on social networks continues to rise. In particular, Facebook can boast of impressive user rates: 81% of adults accessing the internet have a Facebook account. In Latin America, Facebook is nearly universal and 94% of those online have a profile.  All other regions posting figures of more than 75%.

Follow PublicSphereWB on Twitter!

Graphs by we are social


Submitted by Anisha on

Hi there,

Am I reading the first graph correctly? It suggests that time spent on the internet via a PC was more than via a mobile device, across all countries. That does not seem right...every other source I am looking at says that mobile devices accounted for most hours spent on the internet, especially in developing countries.

Please clarify.

Add new comment