Almost 60% of the population globally are internet users, while in Europe, the Northern region is the most connected region at 96% of its population according to the Digital 2021 Global Overview report.
Published in partnership between We Are Social and Hootsuite, this year’s report reveals that social media, ecommerce, streaming content, and video games have all seen significant growth in the past 12 months. Between January 2020 and January 2021, active social media users rose 13% globally, while internet users rose 7%, and unique mobile phone users by 2%.
In Europe, while the North has the highest percentage of internet users, Western Europe is close behind at 93% of the population, down to 86% in Southern Europe, and 82% in Eastern Europe. However, despite having the lowest percentage of internet users in Europe the east also saw the largest year on year growth of the four regions, rising by 4.7% while each of the other three regions saw growth below 2%.
Overall in Europe, Norway is the country with the highest level of internet adoption, at 99% of the population, followed by Denmark and Sweden. The lowest rates of adoption in Europe are Turkey at 78%, followed by Romania (81%) and Italy (84%).
European social media usage is highest in the Northern and Western regions, with 79% of the population in both using it. This falls to 72% in Southern Europe, and 65% in Eastern Europe.
Spain is the only European country in the top 10 globally for largest absolute growth in social media users, with a 27% rise year on year. However, in terms of active social media users as a percentage of total population, Netherlands comes top in Europe, at 88%, followed by Denmark (84%) and Sweden (82%). Lowest are Poland (69%), Italy (68%) and Romania (63%).
Also in Europe, Portugal and Denmark rank highest for the number of mobile phone connections compared to the total population at 155% and 151% respectively.
The report also looks into social media channel usage, uptake of mobile payments, streaming, and QR codes. It reveals that, in Europe, QR codes were used most in Switzerland and Spain, at 54% and 53% respectively of internet users aged 16-64, but less in France and Ireland, both at 33%, and the UK at 32%.
It also shows that the percentage of internet users aged 16-64 making mobile payment is still relatively low – highest in Denmark and Poland at around 36%, and falling to just 18% in Belgium and 15% in France.
Ireland is also the European country with the greatest use of streaming, at 83% of internet users, followed by Spain at 80%.