By Roy Mabasa and Madelaine Miraflor
The Philippines is now the world’s heaviest Internet user, dethroning Thailand, according to the latest Digital 2019 report jointly released by social media management platform Hootsuite and its partner, We Are Social.
The 200-page annual report showed that Internet users in the Philippines increased their average time online to 10 hours and 2 minutes, up from 9 hours and 29 minutes last year.
“This inched them past Thailand to become the country that spends the most amount of time online,” the Digital 2019 report said.
The Philippines and other champions of time spent online also maintained their global lead in time spent on social media by spending an average of 4 hours and 12 minutes on social platforms.
The report noted that this is a substantial leap from the global average of 2 hours and 16 minutes.
With such strong Internet usage, it said businesses in the Philippines cannot afford to miss the opportunity that digital and social represent, with 70 percent of Internet users in the country spending money on eCommerce platforms.
Furthermore, the report said mobile Internet proved to be a popular method of accessing the Internet in the Philippines where users spend 4 hours and 58 minutes on the mobile Internet – the second highest globally behind Thailand.
Some 57 percent of Internet users spent on eCommerce platforms while mobile banking usage reached 54 percent – both higher than the global averages of 55 and 41 percent, respectively.
The eighth annual report, which highlights digital trends and social media use across 230 countries and territories, revealed that more than one million new people go online every day and that 45 percent of the world – nearly 3.5 billion people annually – are logging in to their favorite social platforms.
“That’s a near 9 percent increase year-over-year despite growing concerns of fake news, fake followers and data privacy in 2018,” the report noted.
“Despite controversy around privacy, hacking, fake news and all the other negative aspects of online life, the world continues to embrace the Internet and social media,” said Nathan McDonald, co-founder and Group CEO of We Are Social.
“Brands need to develop creative, socially led strategies to make the most of changing habits – especially when it comes to incorporating video and adapting to voice-controlled devices,” he added.
Facebook has retained its position as the most popular social media network worldwide. The Digital 2019 report said that brands can now reach 2.121 billion people around the world with Facebook ads.
And although growth is slowing, Facebook is still expanding its user base. Looking at just the last quarter of 2018, Facebook grew 1.7 percent, or by 37 million monthly active users.
Instagram has a smaller user base than Facebook at approximately 1 billion active accounts, but it’s growing at a faster rate.
The survey revealed that the Asia Pacific region has some of the highest growth in social media users worldwide, with 218 million users joining the ranks over the past year.
“Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for Internet and mobile usage, and with that comes a huge appetite for technological adoption, foreign investment and digital innovation,” said Roger Graham, head of Hootsuite Asia operations.
In the worldwide scale, the report said Facebook retains its position as the most popular social media network worldwide, where brands can reach 2.121 billion people with Facebook ads.
At the last quarter of 2018, it noted that Facebook grew 1.7 percent, or roughly 37 million monthly active users.
Hootsuite presents itself as the “leader in social media management” while We Are Social is a creative agency that connects people and brands worldwide.