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EDITORIAL Take a look at just how digital the world has become

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While MWC has bitten the dust for 2020, it is worth mentioning that – as of the time of writing – many telemedia players are still heading to Barcelona so let us know if you are (see the links to our groups etc in this story) and let’s see if we can’t create some great news from the Catalan capital regardless?

In the meantime, it is worth noting that while a virus may lay the exhibition world low, it doesn’t stop the march of digital. If ever you needed proof of just how digital the world is, Hootsuite and WeAreSocial have produced a report that delves deeply into the digital lives of consumers and uncovers some amazing stats about just how ingrained digital now is.

Over the coming weeks we shall look in much more detail at what is contained therein – it covers everything from payments to messaging to ecommerce to gaming to advertising and more – but for now it seemed timely to wow you with some of the key facts.

According to the study there are 7.75 billion people in the world (55% of them urbanised) and there are 5.19billion unique mobile phone users. That is a penetration globally of 67%. 4.5 billion use the web and 3.8 billion are on social media.

And it is growing. While the population is growing by 1.1%, unique mobile phone users is growing by 2.4%, internet penetration by 7% and social media use by 9.2% year on year. That is how connected people are worldwide – and what a market that is to tap into.

Of these users many are using mobile messaging and the clear favourite is WhatsApp which is the most popular in 138 countries. Facebook messenger is second in 74 countries. This is further borne out by WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger being the top three apps downloaded worldwide too.

Looking at mobile, penetration is over 100% in most developed countries and is also catching up fast across the developing world. This is leading to a boom in global ecommerce, with 90% of those connected to the web having looked at buying something online. 80% have searched for things to buy online and 74% have actually purchased.

The prevalence of mobile in developing markets is also borne out here too, with the split between purchases on mobile and desktop being 52% to 36% in mobile’s favour globally – compared to 38% to 54% in desktop’s favour in the UK.

In the UK, mobile is being used predominantly as a chat/messaging device, with 83% of users regularly using such apps and 82% using social media. Entertainment and video is next at 62%, while shopping has 63% of users hooked. Games, interestingly, hits just 37%.

Similarly, mobile is increasingly being used in the UK for  digital payments, with 42% using it to transfer money to family and friends and 25% using ewallets on mobile to spend online and in the real world. Interestingly, 7% of online shoppers in the UK claim to use cash. How does that work?

The move to mobile is seeing more money than ever being spent digitally too, with 63.5 million people in the UK making digital payments totally some $162bn.

So that is a taste of just how intrenched the digital world now is. We shall look in more detail at this report as the weeks go by – hey, we may need something to keep us busy now that MWC has been cancelled – but why not delve in yourself?

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