Curious about how many social media users will be in the world in 2027? So was I, and that’s why I did the research, and I have the answer for you. It’s all a guess game, of course, but a reasonable guess game at that.
Just to give you a ballpark number, in 2022, there were around 4.59 billion social media users in the world.
Not internet users, but social media users. There were 4.95 billion internet users worldwide in 2022, so around 92.7% of all internet users also use social media.
Either way, check out the chart below that’ll show you a vision of the future of social media:
|Year||Number of Social Media Users||% Increase Year-Over-Year|
|2018||3.1 billion||13.55% increase|
|2019||3.51 billion||13.22% increase|
|2020||3.9 billion||11.11% increase|
|2021||4.26 billion||9.23% increase|
|2022||4.59 billion||7.74% increase|
|2023||4.89 billion||~ 6.53% increase|
|2024||5.17 billion||~ 5.72% increase|
|2025||5.42 billion||~ 4.83% increase|
|2026||5.64 billion||~ 4% increase|
|2027||5.85 billion||~ 3.72% increase|
As you can see, the world is expected to reach around 5.85 social media users by 2027, so clearly, the number of internet users will be at or above 6 billion.
Moreover, in a 10-year period, from 2017 to 2027, the number of social media users is expected to increase by around 114%, from 2.73 billion to 5.85 billion.
Of course, any number from 2023 onward is a pure estimation (based on available data), so take them with a grain of salt. But the actual values should be around these estimations when we go through 2023 and onwards.
You should also notice that, on a year-over-year basis, the percentage increase in social media users is slowing down bit by bit.
It’s still increasing but steadily slowing down, which might mean that we’ll soon reach a plateau when the number of social media users stagnates.
This might be due to several reasons:
- Not enough internet users worldwide
- Lack of internet access for certain members of the community
- Financial destitution in various parts of the world
- Lower birth rate
Let me explain the first rationale – The reason why social media users have been increasing massively over the years was that the social media platforms themselves were still relatively new.
They were promoting themselves, getting the public’s attention, and making a name for themselves.
At the same time, there were billions of internet users who weren’t using social media for various reasons, but as time went on and social media became more popular, those internet users also became social media users.
Those numbers went up faster and faster the more popular social media became, and there were a lot of internet users who weren’t using it before.
But as the years went by, most of the internet users in the world also because of social media users.
The number of internet users is growing at a slow rate, which automatically slows down the growth of social media users.
Either because of financial destitution or cultural differences, many people don’t have access to the internet today.
What’s more, the global birth rate is slowing down as well, which in turn means fewer people will use the internet.
This causes a chain reaction that slows down the increase of social media users we see in the chart above.
Which Social Media Platforms Will Be Popular in the Future?
Based on my observations, I’ll estimate that the social media landscape won’t change too much by 2027. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram will still be the main social media networks used by the vast majority of people.
TikTok is a bit of a difficult one to analyze due to the recent wave of bans against the Chinese-owned platform on many government devices around the world.
Perhaps privacy and anonymity will become more prized in the future, which may lead to more severe bans for TikTok. Or we’ll simply throw privacy out the window and welcome TikTok with open arms.
Other than this, I see two other potential problems for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:
- Facebook and Instagram are part of Meta, which Mark Zuckerberg is dead-set on turning into a Metaverse-focused company, with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality as core services/products. This may impact (it already has in some measure) both Facebook’s and Instagram’s userbases as well as financial stats.
- Twitter is currently battling the impact of its new leadership, as Elon Musk keeps making systemic changes to the platform. However, its US user base seems to have increased since Musk took over, at least for the time being. Whether this forms a trend or not remains to be seen, though, as always, I believe that Twitter will never be as popular as Facebook or Instagram due to its excessive focus on political debate
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence tools, I also suspect there’s going to be a rise in the demand for originality and human-made content in the future.
What Does the Future Social Media User Looks Like?
I’ve noticed a shift in the way social media users think, act, react, and behave on platforms. This is also impacted by the specific social media platform we’re talking about.
Usually, Facebook is more “chill” and relaxed than, say, Twitter. People come to Facebook to unwind, see some cat pics, watch other people’s vacation photos, and feel good.
Instagram is for admiring supermodels and getting drenched in lowkey softcore pornography, and Twitter is for getting angry at random people over political topics.
TikTok is for getting into stupid challenges and following bizarre trends that pop in and out of existence with each passing day.
Based on what social media platform a user frequents, you could construct a profile about their behavior and preferences.
I believe that the future of social media users can go one of two ways:
- People become more and more politicized, woke, and conflicted about the smallest issues
- People eventually ground themselves and stop caring about insignificant and petty things, instead focusing on what’s more important.
Based on these two conclusions, social media may be a different place in 5-7 years than we see now.
There’s already a divide between these two categories of social media users – those who use it to relax and find some funny content and those who constantly engage in debates and conflicts and offend themselves.
Alright, that’s about all there is to say about the topic. To summarize, we should see a steady growth of social media users until 2027, until it eventually reaches the plateau.
Stay tuned for other research-based guides!