How will social media look in 4-5 years? How many social media users will there be, and how will they be using the networks of today?
In this article, I’ll go over the number of social network users in various countries from 2022-2027 in an attempt to see how social media will evolve.
I’ll also try to envision the new social media technologies that may appear or evolve in the coming years, but this is at the end of the article.
First, some interesting stats before we begin:
- In 2022, there were approximately 4.59 billion social media users in the world, and it is estimated that by the end of 2023, there will be 4.9 billion users
- On average, a social media user from India has 11.4 social media accounts
- The United Arab Emirates has a social media penetration of 106.1%, while India (second most social media users in the world) has a 33.4% penetration rate
- It is estimated that the social media advertising segment on mobile will reach $384.9 billion by 2027
- It is estimated that in a 10-year period from 2017 to 2027, the total number of social media users worldwide will increase by 114%
Alright, if I include any more stats, I’ll spoil all the research and charts I’ll include below. So, keep reading for all that!
Number of Social Media Users Per Country 2022-2027
Five years is not that long of a period, but, as you’ll see, some of the countries on this list will go through quite the increase in social media users. See below:
|Country||Number of Social Media Users|
|China||1.021 billion in 2022|
1.212 billion by 2027
|India||755.47 million in 2022|
1.177,5 billion by 2027
|United States||302.25 million in 2022|
327.22 million by 2027
|Indonesia||217.53 million in 2022|
261.7 million by 2027
|Brazil||165.45 million in 2022|
188.35 million by 2027
|Russia||115.05 million in 2022|
126.37 million by 2027
|Japan||101.98 million in 2022|
113.03 million by 2027
|Mexico||98.21 million in 2022|
122.07 million by 2027
|Philippines||84.07 million in 2022|
92.68 million by 2027
|Vietnam||72.29 million in 2022|
81.63 million by 2027
|Turkey||67.11 million in 2022|
76.58 million by 2027
|United Kingdom||61.67 million in 2022|
65.23 million by 2027
|Germany||60.88 million in 2022|
73.15 million by 2027
|Thailand||56.27 million in 2022|
59.32 million by 2027
|France||48.71 million in 2022|
56.62 million by 2027
|South Korea||46.09 million in 2022|
47.61 million by 2027
|Italy||43.18 million in 2022|
46.89 million by 2027
|Nigeria||38.47 million in 2022|
91.55 million by 2027
|Canada||34.47 million in 2022|
38.93 million by 2027
|Bangladesh||24.49 million in 2022|
33.6 million by 2027
The biggest increases in the number of social media users should be in India (55.86%) and in Nigeria (138%), while the rest of the countries will go through slower growth.
India will become the second country with over a billion people connected to social media after China.
South Korea is expected to go through the slowest growth in social media users across this 5-year period, with only a 3.29% increase.
Number of Social Media Users Worldwide 2017-2027
It’ll be interesting to see just how many social media users will be by 2027 and look at the growth over a 10-year period between 2017 and 2027.
Of course, this data is prospective at best, and the numbers might not play out as I present them here.
Here’s the data chart:
|Year||Number of Social Media Users|
|2018||3.1 billion (13.5% increase from last year)|
|2019||3.51 billion (13.22% increase from last year)|
|2020||3.9 billion (11.11% increase from last year)|
|2021||4.26 billion (9.23% increase from last year)|
|2022||4.59 billion (7.74% increase from last year)|
|2023||4.9 billion (6.75% increase from last year)|
|2024||5.17 billion (5.51% increase from last year)|
|2025||5.42 billion (4.83% increase from last year)|
|2026||5.64 billion (4% increase from last year)|
|2027||5.85 billion (3.72% increase from last year)|
It seems that, on a 10-year basis, the number of social media users in the world will increase by 114.28%, from 2.73 billion to 5.85 billion.
However, on a year-by-year basis, the % increase in users seems to be on a constant decrease, and I assume it’ll eventually reach a plateau where the increase will either be non-existent or minimal.
That’s because, already, over half of the world’s population is using social media today. The rest of the non-users don’t have access to social media for various reasons that may be difficult to counter like:
- Material inadequacy
- Social limitations
- Lack of internet access
While these problems are solvable, it takes a long time for these people to become social media users. Either way, unless something drastic happens, the number of social media users shouldn’t decrease either.
By 2027, it is estimated that approximately 70% of the world’s population will be using social media, and that’s taking into account population growth as well. By the end of 2027, there should be 8.3 billion people in the world, give or take.
There’s no doubt that the future, no matter how far you look, is digitized. Online social media, online shopping, online banking, online businesses, online everything.
Social Media Ad Expenditure in the US 2017-2027
The number of social media users isn’t the only growing element of social networking. Ad expenditure is set to increase as well in all countries.
Below, I’ll be looking at the ad expenditure on a 10-year period between 2017 and 2027 to see what we should expect.
|Year||Ad Expenditure in the US|
|2018||29.62 billion (38.34% increase from last year)|
|2019||38.44 billion (29.77% increase from last year)|
|2020||49.13 billion (27.8% increase from last year)|
|2021||63.14 billion (28.51% increase from last year)|
|2022||80.67 billion (27.76% increase from last year)|
|2023||94.42 billion (17% increase from last year)|
|2024||105 billion (11.2% increase form last year)|
|2025||114 billion (8.57% increase from last year)|
|2026||122.2 billion (7.19% increase from last year)|
|2027||130.5 billion (6.79% increase from last year)|
In the 10-year period from 2017 to 2027, it is estimated that the US social media ex expenditure will increase by over 509%, though the year-by-year expenditure will consistently slow down in growth, as you can see in the chart above.
In 2027, it is estimated that the ad expenditure will have increased by only 6.79% from 2026, which is a far cry from 2017-2018’s increase of 38.34%. But, again, that’s to be expected since this industry should reach a plateau at one point.
One major difference between the plateau in social media user numbers and ad expenditure is that in the case of the latter, the expenditure largely depends on the business adoption of social media.
Even now, many businesses aren’t promoting their products or services on social media, and if that were to change, then the ad expenditure might go through dramatic upshifts.
Especially if new industries emerge that deliver entirely new types of products and services.
The Social Media Technologies of the Future
This section is comprised of my personal view of the way social media will evolve by adopting specific technologies of today.
One such technology is the Metaverse, which Mark Zuckerberg is so interested in. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (two different concepts), in other words, maybe the future of social media.
If there’s anywhere that these two technologies are incorporated successfully, it’s social media.
Let me explain the concepts:
- Virtual Reality lets you step inside a created virtual world. Think of playing a video game with a VR headset. You’re seeing that video game world from the perspective of the character but in a much more immersive way than on a computer screen. Implemented in social media, it would be something like creating a World Hub where social users would meet virtually and interact with one another.
- Augmented Reality lets you digitize the real world by overlaying computer graphics over it. Think of the AR Mode in Pokemon, where players would find those Pokemon in the real world with their phones. On social media, this may work with special glasses that let you see certain information pop up around your friends in real life. Think of the movie “Free Guy” with Ryan Reynolds.
These concepts may seem alien but trust me, they’re really not. VR games already exist, and it’s just a matter of time before virtual social worlds become more mainstream.
As for Augmented Reality, that may be harder to pull off with real-time information about the people around you, but it’s quite doable and not that far into the future, I think.
Xone is a perfect example of social media meeting Augmented Reality. The company will allow you to build a virtual world and share it with your friends. These virtual worlds will be called “xones” (original, right?), and the idea behind them is total immersion.
You could technically listen to music together, enjoy environmental changes in the real world, host events and gatherings, and take part in games.
The best thing about it is that you can jump in and out of any AR world of any player as long as they invite you.
I also estimate that the future of social media is more personalized than ever before. With how much data social media platforms gather about us every day, there’s got to be a way to make personalized content up a few notches.
Then, there’s the new kid on the block, Artificial Intelligence. Well, technically not new, but there have been big advances recently (ChatGPT & co).
Today’s social media networks already use AI to recognize faces to target ad audiences better, strengthen search functionalities, and other nifty stuff.
There also seems to be growing interest in the decentralization of social media, and the Blockchain seems like the perfect place to start. This could revolutionize social media as we know it in several ways:
- Content creators would be compensated fairly, equally, and instantly based on smart contracts
- Censorship would be a thing of the past due to distributed ledgers
- No central authority exerts control over the platform, effectively democratizing the whole system (blockchain voting)
Lastly, the Internet of Things could incorporate social media networks to provide real-time data, diagnostics, and insights into what people like, which would lead to better-targeted ads and business decisions.
In the end, we can only wait and see what the future brings. I’ll see you at the next one 😀
- Statista – Number of Social Network users in Selected Countries in 2022 and 2027
- Demand Sage – Social Media Users – How Many People Use Social Media in 2023
- Oberlo – Social Media Ad Spend in the US (2017-2027)
- Forbes – The Future of Social Media in the Metaverse
- Brand Mentions – The Future of Social Media – 5 Expert Predictions that Actually Matter
- App Inventiv – 5 Technologies Taking Social Media Towards its Next Evolution Set