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Internet Users Reached 4.6 billion Worldwide: Digital 2021 Report

The World today without the internet is unimaginable. It has become the marvel of modern living. With growing numbers of smartphone sales and access to the internet, it is hard to find places without the internet. A new set of statistics from the Digital 2021 report has revealed that the number of internet users has reached 4.6 billion worldwide while the number of unique mobile users reaches 5.22 billion.

Internet users worldwide data Jan 2021

The figures showed that internet users have now increased by 319 million people over the same period last year. In percentage, this is the growth by 7.3% than the last time around. So, around 875,000 new users are connected to the internet each day.

Last year, COVID-19 had both challenges to face and opportunities to grab, in terms of digital adoption. The Digital 2021 report mainly included the change in the search query, the surge of e-commerce, increased usage of mobile and social media usage. They collaborated with various partners like Hootsuite and accumulated the data from various sources (like Statista, ITU, GSMA intelligence, Semrush, SimilarWeb, etc) to prepare the report for digital usage worldwide in 2021.

No of Mobile users Worldwide

According to Datareportal, there are 5.22 billion unique mobile users in the world which accounts for 66.6% of the total population of the world. So, this is the average unique mobile penetration of the world. The stats showed an increase of 93 million smartphone users from 2020 till January.

But if we consider all the devices used, there are altogether 8 billion mobile connections (excluding any IoT devices). It was in 2017 that unique mobile subscribers crossed the 5 billion mark.

Mobile users mobile connection data worldwide 2021

NOTE: The stats above are set against the world population which stands at 7.83 billion.

Among the 8 billion connections, more than 6 billion devices are smartphones. The growth rate of smartphone users is 7% per year, with the addition of 1 million new smartphones every day.

The Soaring Allure of Social Media

The data also highlighted the rise in the users of social media which has increased by 13% from the last year, with 1.3 million users added every day. Globally social media users have peaked at 4.2 billion, which is 53% of the total population. Whereas 90% of the total internet users in the world use any social media. Of which, 98.8% are accessing it from mobile.

social media users worldwide Jan 2021

Social media consumption is on the rise. A single smartphone user spends an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes every day. That figure translates to 3.7 trillion hours on social media by the end of 2021. It is also found that on average, an individual has created accounts on 8.4 different social media platforms.

Multiple Devices for Internet

It is obvious that smartphone sales have a major contribution to drive internet users number. Less number of people are spending their time on TVs these days. The stats have shown that an individual spends 3 hours 39 minutes a day while s/he spends just 3 hours and 24 minutes on TV.

But when it comes to internet use, a user is not connected to the internet on smartphones only. They are using multiple devices such as laptops/desktops or tabs. Although the internet use on smartphone ranks at 90% compared to other mentioned devices.

Check out: Smartphone vs Laptop Usage; which one to prefer?

Online Business Factor

We can’t deny the impact of e-commerce and digital transactions app to inflate internet usage. 77% of internet users aged 16 to 64 have shopped online every month.

ecommerce usage data worldwide 2021

More people are dependent on E-commerce platforms these days for their business. Online shopping, online payment, or booking a ticket at a hotel or a film, we rely on Internet as it saves our time and is more convenient.

Indonesia is at the top of online shopping. In a survey, a massive 87% of internet users said they had done shopping on an average in the last month.

How Did The Countries Fare for Internet Usage?

The figures have pointed out a striking insight into internet use today. An average user is connected to the internet for almost 7 hours a day. If this remains consistent throughout 2021, they will have spent nearly 12 trillion hours this year.

Different countries have varying amounts of time spent on the internet. The Philippines remains at the top of the list with 11 hours a day. Other South American countries such as Columbia, Brazil, and South Africans follow at second with an average of 10 hours a day on the internet.

On the contrary, the Japanese spend less than 4.5 hours a day on the internet. The Chinese clock at a mere 5.22 hours a day which is also relatively low against the global average of 6.54 hours.


The data has highlighted the skyrocketing number of users, but it also shows people’s growing dependency on the Internet for daily activities. Our world is shifting virtual. The imminent arrival of 5G will transform our ways with the internet further.

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