Digital Trends 2019: Key Insights and Predictions

We Are Social and Hootsuite's Global Digital 2019 reports have shown that the internet has seen a tremendous surge in usage over the past year. On average, over one million new users join the online community every day, with all of the original "Next Billion Users" now having access to the internet.

global mobile, internet and social media useHowever, it's not just the number of internet users that is growing at an unprecedented rate. The Digital 2019 reports, which are an extensive collection of data and insights on digital trends across the globe, have revealed that various other aspects of the digital world are also expanding rapidly. For instance, social media usage, e-commerce, and mobile connectivity are all increasing significantly. This makes us also think about essay about internet.

The reports provide valuable information and insights for businesses, marketers, and individuals who are seeking to understand the latest digital trends and how they can leverage them for their benefit. With the internet becoming increasingly accessible and influential around the world, it's more important than ever to stay informed about the latest developments in the digital space.

Below, we will delve into all of the crucial trends and insights from this year's reports, but to understand the current state of "Digital in 2019," here are the key highlights:

  1. The number of unique mobile users worldwide has reached 5.11 billion, indicating a growth of 100 million users (2 percent) in the past year.
  2. There are now 4.39 billion internet users in 2019, representing an increase of 366 million users (9 percent) from January 2018.
  3. Social media usage continues to soar, with 3.48 billion people using social media in 2019, an increase of 288 million users (9 percent) since last year.
  4. Mobile social media usage has also seen significant growth, with 3.26 billion people accessing social media on mobile devices in January 2019, a surge of 297 million users (representing a year-on-year increase of more than 10 percent).

These essential headlines demonstrate the vast scale and impact of the digital landscape in 2019, and they provide valuable insights for anyone looking to navigate the ever-changing world of digital media.

Internet users growth in 2019

One of the most compelling stories to emerge from the series is the significant acceleration in internet user growth over the past year. In 2019, the number of internet users has surged, with over 366 million new users coming online. This growth highlights the ever-increasing importance of the internet and digital media in our daily lives, and the need for businesses and individuals to stay informed and adapt to the changing digital landscape.

Our team has collected and synthesized the latest internet data from a wide range of reputable sources, and the results are impressive. Internet users are growing at a staggering rate of more than 11 new users per second, resulting in an astonishing one million new users every day. While some of this growth may be due to more accurate reporting of user numbers, the significance of this increase cannot be ignored. It underscores the pervasive influence of the internet and its importance in today's society.

Behavior of internet users in 2019

In 2019, internet user behaviors are rapidly evolving, and mobile devices are playing an increasingly significant role in our online activities. As we explore the details of mobile and app usage in the dedicated mobile section below, it's worth noting that mobile phones now represent nearly half of the time spent on the internet. This shift towards mobile usage highlights the importance of optimizing digital content and strategies for mobile devices in order to effectively reach and engage with audiences in today's digital landscape.

mobile's share of total internet time

According to our latest data, internet users around the world spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes online per day, which is slightly lower than last year's figure of 6 hours and 49 minutes. However, we believe that this drop may be partially attributed to the influx of new users who are still acclimating to the internet and using it less frequently than experienced users who turn to their connected devices hundreds of times each day. Nonetheless, the fact that users still spend nearly 7 hours online each day underscores the integral role that the internet and digital media play in our lives.

With the average internet user spending 6 and a half hours online each day, you might wonder how they're spending their time. Google remains the most visited website globally, according to rankings from SimilarWeb, reaffirming the search giant's dominance in the digital sphere. YouTube, another platform under the Alphabet umbrella, takes second place on both lists, while Facebook comes in third.

Notably, social media platforms also feature prominently on both rankings, indicating the significant role they play in our online habits. Despite a declining user base, Twitter continues to perform well in website rankings, as we will discuss further in the social media section below. These rankings demonstrate the continued influence of tech giants and social media in shaping the digital landscape.

world's most visited websites

Over the past year, e-commerce sites have steadily climbed the ranks of website rankings. According to Alexa's latest data, five e-commerce sites now rank among the top 20 globally. Chinese platforms, in particular, have a strong presence on the list, with Taobao and Tmall surpassing Amazon in terms of global traffic.

Moreover, GlobalWebIndex's latest report reveals that 92 percent of internet users watch videos online each month, indicating that more than 4 billion people around the world are consuming online video content in early 2019. This statistic is particularly significant given that there are roughly 6 billion people around the world who have a television set at home, based on data reported by the ITU. These findings highlight the growing dominance of digital media and the increasing importance of online platforms and e-commerce in our daily lives.​

Not only are internet user behaviors evolving, but the ways in which we interact with the internet are also changing. The use of voice control tools saw a significant increase in 2018, with around 4 out of every 10 internet users now utilizing voice commands or voice search on a monthly basis. This trend highlights the growing popularity of voice-based technology and its potential to transform how we access and consume digital content.​

Social Media users statistics in 2019

This year's reports provide extensive insights into how people around the world are using the top social media platforms in more than 230 countries and territories. The data tells a mixed story, with some platforms experiencing impressive growth over the past year while others are starting to lose ground.

Despite these disparities, social media usage continues to expand on a global scale. As of the start of 2019, worldwide social media user numbers have grown to nearly 3.5 billion, with 288 million new users added in the past 12 months. This growth has pushed the global penetration figure to 45 percent. However, it's important to note that social media use is not evenly distributed across the globe, with penetration rates in some parts of Africa still in the single digits. These trends highlight the evolving landscape of social media and the ongoing importance of understanding regional and cultural differences in online behaviors.

User social media behaviors in 2019

time per day spent using social mediaSocial media usage continues to be a significant part of people's online behaviors in 2019, with the amount of time spent on social platforms slightly increasing this year. According to GlobalWebIndex, the average social media user now spends 2 hours and 16 minutes per day on social media, up from 2 hours and 15 minutes last year. This represents roughly one-third of their total internet time and one-seventh of their waking lives.

However, it's worth noting that social media usage varies considerably across cultures. For instance, internet users in Japan spend an average of just 36 minutes on social media each day, highlighting the influence of cultural factors on online behaviors. Conversely, Filipinos continue to spend the most time on social media, with this year's average of 4 hours and 12 minutes reflecting a 15-minute increase per day (6 percent) from the average reported last year. These variations underscore the importance of considering cultural context when analyzing social media behaviors.

Top social media platforms in 2019

Despite facing challenges in 2018, Facebook remains the top social media platform in early 2019, with little evidence to suggest that users are leaving the platform in large numbers, contrary to ongoing media reports.

active user accounts per social platforms

Contrary to some reports, Facebook's monthly active user (MAU) numbers have continued to grow steadily over the past 12 months, with the platform's latest earnings announcement reporting a year-on-year user growth of almost 10 percent. This growth trend is consistent with Facebook's impressive five-year growth chart.

Despite facing some leadership challenges in 2018, Instagram has posted strong numbers over the past year. In June, the company announced that it had surpassed 1 billion active accounts, although it later clarified that this figure did not represent unique users. Nonetheless, this milestone was impressive and indicative of the platform's growing influence.

Twitter faced some challenges in 2018, reporting declines in global active users in their last two earnings announcements. This trend is reflected in the platform's advertising audience numbers, which reveal a 1.5 percent decrease in Twitter's total addressable audience since October.

Moreover, Twitter's advertising audience is heavily male-skewed, with nearly two-thirds of its addressable audience being male. This gender disparity may pose challenges for marketers seeking to reach diverse audiences on the platform. Nonetheless, Twitter remains a key player in the social media landscape and continues to evolve its features and capabilities to stay competitive.

Mobile users in 2019

Mobile phone usage continues to expand on a global scale in 2019. Last year, the number of mobile phone users worldwide increased by 100 million, with the global total surpassing 5.1 billion users as of January 2019. This figure represents a mobile penetration rate of 67 percent, meaning that over two-thirds of the world's population now uses a mobile phone. These trends underscore the increasing importance of mobile devices in shaping how we access and interact with digital content.

comparison between movile users and mobile connections

Smartphones have become a dominant force in the global mobile market, accounting for two-thirds of all mobile connections. With approximately 5.5 billion smartphones in use worldwide, it's not surprising that the mobile app market continues to grow at a rapid pace.

However, it's worth noting that over 2.5 billion "feature phone" handsets are still in use globally, while cellular "internet of things" (IoT) connections have reached almost 300 million. These trends indicate the diversity of mobile device usage and the potential for continued growth in the mobile market.

E-commerce users statistics in 2019

On the e-commerce front, the latest data from Statista's Digital Market Outlook suggests that consumer spending in the sector has increased by 14 percent year-on-year. The company estimates that full-year 2018 spend on consumer goods alone surpassed US$1.78 trillion, highlighting the significant role of e-commerce in today's digital economy.

overview of ecommerce market

Fashion & Beauty has emerged as the fastest-growing sector in e-commerce, with spending in the category increasing by 17 percent over the past year. Annual global spend in this sector has now surpassed half a trillion US dollars, indicating the growing significance of online shopping for fashion and beauty products.

That said, online travel and accommodation bookings still account for the largest share of consumer e-commerce spending. In 2018, users around the world spent a combined US$750 billion on online travel, making it the largest e-commerce category in terms of spending. These trends demonstrate the breadth of e-commerce offerings and the diverse consumer behaviors shaping the digital economy.

With an extensive overview of the latest digital trends and insights, we hope this roundup has provided a comprehensive understanding of the state of digital in 2019. As we look to the year ahead, we see several key trends emerging from this year's data that are likely to shape the future of the digital landscape.

  1. Voice control will become increasingly important: With the next phase of internet growth expected to come from developing markets, global platforms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon will need to provide more user-friendly interfaces to serve these new users. Voice control is likely to play a significant role in these efforts, especially in countries with lower levels of literacy. This marks a revolutionary change in how people interact with connected content and devices, rather than simply the rise of smart speakers.​
  2. The social media landscape will continue to evolve: As some of the top social media platforms experience extended periods of user decline, we may see consolidation and attrition in the industry in the coming months. If current downward trends persist, Twitter and Snapchat may face pressure from investors to accept acquisition offers. Moreover, it seems as though the next major innovation in social media is already overdue. This is not solely about the rise of the ‘stories’ format, although that will likely continue to be a significant development in 2019. Rather, privacy concerns, changes in social media preferences and behaviors, and growing fatigue with existing platforms may inspire a series of new social platforms this year, possibly utilizing new innovations like SOLID. However, this shift could fundamentally alter the fabric of business on the internet, so we can expect resistance from established players.
  3. Marketing as a service: Successful brands on the internet share a common trait: they treat marketing as a service. Instead of churning out corporate propaganda and uninspired advertising, they allocate their marketing budgets to create valuable content for their audience. This could be something as simple as a how-to video on YouTube or a large-scale event that puts the audience at the center of the action. This “marketing as a service” approach is the only way to combat media inflation and the audience shift from newsfeeds to stories.

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