By 2014, the ranking of regions by social network users will reflect regional shares of the global population
According to a new eMarketer report, “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013. The number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.
The rapidly expanding social network audiences in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa will be huge drivers of social user growth. Though Asia-Pacific will have the largest social network population worldwide through 2017 and the Middle East and Africa will have the second-largest audience starting next year, their population penetration rates are among the lowest.
Out of the countries included in the forecast, eMarketer expects the fastest increases to come from the social network user populations of India, Indonesia, Mexico, China and Brazil.
eMarketer has increased our 2013 forecast for total social network users worldwide by 100 million since our August 2012 forecast. This upward adjustment is based on new data that indicates higher-than-expected totals for internet users in India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and the Middle East and Africa; new data showing higher estimates for UK social network users than previously forecast; and a new breakout of social network users in the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.
Asia-Pacific has the largest social network user base, with an audience of 777 million people and a share of 44.8% of social network users worldwide expected by the end of this year. This is more than triple the size of Latin America’s social network audience, which is the second-largest worldwide.
eMarketer expects the regional portions to shift in ranking throughout the forecast period. Next year, the Middle East and Africa will surpass Latin America in share to become the region with the second-largest social network audience, while Central and Eastern Europe’s share will exceed that of North America for the first time. The ranking of social network users by region will largely reflect the regional shares of the global population by 2014. This was an inevitable development, as social network usage has moved from taking place primarily in advanced markets to being a common activity for people around the world.