Qatar, UAE have highest social media penetration: report

Of the 246 million people living in the Middle East, 60% (147 million) now use the internet, up 15% from 2016


Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices at 95%, while UAE was second with 88%. Photo: Bloomberg
Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices at 95%, while UAE was second with 88%. Photo: Bloomberg

Dubai: Qatar and the UAE have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world at 99% each, while the overall internet usage in the Middle East jumped 15% compared to last year, a new report said.

Of the 246 million people living in the Middle East, 60% (147 million) now use the internet—up 15% from 2016 —34% (93 million) are active on social media, representing a 47% year on year rise.

Globally the amount of web traffic on mobile devices has soared in recent years, with just over half (50.3%) now being accessed this way, a significant rise from 2013 (35%) and from the first figure recorded in 2009 of 0.7%, according to the report released by Hootsuite and We Are Social.

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Hootsuite, a widely used social media management platform, and We Are Social, a global social media agency, recently released Digital in 2017, examining data from 238 countries. The research also disclosed some startling findings on e-commerce, with 1.61 billion people buying online in 2016 (22% of the global population).

It disclosed interesting figures from the more affluent nations in the GCC with 99% of people in the UAE using the internet, 70% in Saudi Arabia and 93% in Bahrain. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) established in Saudia Arabia in 1981, is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries which include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Qatar and UAE have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world (both 99%), while Saudi Arabia has seen the highest growth in penetration with a 73% rise resulting in 59% of the Saudi population using social channels, the report said. Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices (95%), while UAE was second with (88%) and Saudi Arabia was just under half the population (49%).

“The rise in digital use in the Middle East should not surprise anyone, but I think most people would be surprised at just how sharply it’s rising and the figures on mobile use in the GCC are quite incredible,” said Chris Fountain, Managing Director of Turret Media, organisers of the two-day exhibition MEFTECH 2017 which will take place in Abu Dhabi in March.

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