First of all, let me explain what social media penetration rate is. In a nutshell, it shows how popular social media as a whole is in a certain country by dividing the number of social media users to the country’s total population.
The end result is the penetration rate for social media within that given country. In this article, we’re going to look at social media as a whole but also analyze several social media platforms in terms of market penetration rate within certain countries.
But first, below, you’ll find the main chart with the worldwide penetration chart per region as of January 2023:
|World Region||Penetration Rate|
On average, social media has a 59.4% penetration rate, meaning that over half of the world’s population is using social media.
The world regions with the highest social media penetration are Northern Europe and Western Europe, with over 80% penetration rate. Meaning that, on average, most of the people living in these regions are using social media at any time.
As we’d expect, the poorest regions around the world are also the ones with the lowest social media penetration rate for obvious reasons. Generally speaking, the more well-off a country is (financially and in terms of personal safety), the more likely its citizens will be to use social media.
But what about the penetration rate by country? That one should be even more interesting to see. Take a look below!
Social Media Penetration Rate by Country 2023
Social media is literally everywhere you look, but exactly how much has it propagated in the world, and do different countries use social media more or less?
It appears so. See the chart below:
|Country||Penetration Rate||Time Spent on Social Media as % out of the Total Time Spent Online|
|United Arab Emirates||105.5%||37.9%|
Straight off the bat, you’ll notice something a bit off – the UAE has a 105.5% penetration rate, and as I explained above, the penetration rate results from dividing the total number of social media users by the total population.
The UAE’s population is around 10,209,572 as of March 2023, and its total number of social media users was around 10 million around January 2023.
That comes to around a 97% penetration rate. However, the difference of 105.5% might be attributed to non-citizens who use social media in the country.
As you may or may not know, the UAE is home to around 9 million expatriates (8.92 million as of December 2022). However, Dubai’s official population sits at around 3.54 million only, which means that the UAE’s non-citizen population is around 2.52 times more numerous than its official citizens.
Around 71.6% of the people living in the UAE are expatriates, so that’s why social media penetration goes above 100% in the UAE. A lot of the people using social media in the country are ex-pats.
Then, when we look at the amount of time spent on social media out of the total time spent online, we see some interesting numbers.
India has the highest time spent on social media out of the total time spent on the internet, at around 44.4%. So, almost half of the time Indian people are online, they’re using social media.
At the lowest end of the spectrum is South Korea, with only 22.1% of time spent on social media out of the total time spent online. The US is at 32.5%, which is pretty reasonable.
As for the worldwide score, it’s at 38%. Not good, not bad. Just in the middle, though, I fully expect this number to go up the more advanced social media becomes.
Social Media Penetration by Platform per Country
We couldn’t talk about the global social media penetration per country without getting into specific social networks. So, this is what we’ll do in this section for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Instagram. The Big Four, as I like to call them.
Instagram Penetration Per Country as of January 2023
Turkey is the country with the highest Instagram penetration rate among all others, with a 59.36% penetration rate. More than half of the Turkish population is using Instagram at any given time.
As for the lowest penetration rate, other than China (for obvious reasons), it’s South Africa with 9.19%. Given that South Africa is a poor country, it’s not a surprise to see that Instagram (or other social platforms) isn’t too used there.
Instagram is doing fairly well if you ask me. Half the population of 9 countries is using Instagram as of January 2023, and that’s saying something.
Facebook Penetration per Country as of January 2023
Facebook clearly wins out over Instagram in terms of not only user numbers but also penetration rate. With over 26 countries where more than half the population is using Facebook, the platform is clearly thriving.
Taiwan has a penetration rate of 92.31%, which means that almost all of Taiwan’s citizens are Facebook users. The US stands at a 52.35% penetration rate, so a bit over half of the population is using Facebook.
It’s not for nothing that Facebook is the king of social media 😀
TikTok Penetration Per Country as of January 2023
Disclaimer – it’s going to be hard to estimate the penetration rate of TikTok in some countries because many have banned the app on government devices, and the official stats are not exactly accessible in some cases.
So, take some of the information below (I’ll mark it with a “~” symbol) with a grain of salt.
|China||~51.36% (Douyin version of TikTok)|
|Hong Kong||0% (Hong Kong is banned from using TikTok)|
|India||0% (India has banned TikTok|
TikTok has been banned in several countries completely and in others partially. Already, government employees in multiple US states and several countries aren’t allowed to use TikTok on their devices for fear of Chinese espionage.
The data in the chart above should be fairly accurate for 99% of the entries. Canada is a bit of an unknown since there wasn’t clear data about the number of TikTok users in 2023, only an approximation.
As for China, they’re technically not using the same TikTok that you and I may be using. Their version of TikTok is called Douyin, and it’s quite different than the regular TikTok.
As for Hong Kong and India, one has been banned by TikTok (Hong Kong), and the other has been banned TikTok nationwide (India). So, their penetration rate is 0% since no one uses TikTok officially. And there is no unofficial data available, unfortunately.
There are only 7 countries where TikTok is used by over half of the population, which is extremely good considering that TikTok was launched internationally in 2017, which is 6 years ago.
Twitter Penetration Per Country as of January 2023
Last but not least, we’ll be looking at the penetration rate of Twitter per country as of January 2023. Don’t expect much since Twitter isn’t as attractive as the other three social media platforms. See below:
|China||Unknown since Twitter is officially banned in China|
There are only two countries where over half the population is using Twitter – Hong Kong and Japan. Even the US has a 28.26% penetration rate, which means that barely over a quarter of all Americans are using Twitter.
Elon Musk’s platform is simply not that popular as a whole, and I’ve already told you why I think that is in another article. Because they’re not attractive to users, their ad revenue is too small, which means that the company operates on a loss year after year.
Here’s an interesting list, just so you can fully appreciate how unpopular Twitter is worldwide:
- Instagram has a penetration rate of over 30% in 37 countries
- Facebook has a penetration rate of over 30% in 37 countries
- TikTok has a penetration rate of over 30% in 25 countries
- Twitter has a penetration rate of over 30% in only 5 countries
Twitter’s highest penetration rate is 56% in Hong Kong, while TikTok’s highest-penetration rate is 86.61% in U.A.E, Facebook’s highest penetration rate is in Taiwan at 92.31%, and Instagram’s is in the U.A.E. with 105.5% (followed by South Korea with 92%.
What’s the Conclusion?
I won’t tell you that social media has taken over the world. But I will say that it’s on its merry way to do that. Overall, social media has a penetration of 59.4%, so well over half the population is using a social media platform at any given time.
If you compare all the charts mentioned above, you’ll see several countries at the top of social media usage across the board:
- Saudi Arabia
- Hong Kong
- United Arab Emirates
Coincidentally (or not), these countries are also at the top of social media penetration on average. It seems people there are quite enamored with social media, including Twitter (for the most part).
And that’s about all I can say about this topic. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new about this topic. I know I did. In any case, see you at the next one!