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Everybody is Online: COVID-19 Boosts Global Internet Population Beyond 5 Billion in March 2021

In March 2021, number of internet users in the world has exceeded 5 billion mark, at 5.168 billion as against 4.72 billion active internet users in April 2020.

ISLAMABAD: Internet users have rapidly increased during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic globally. In March 2021, number of internet users in the world has exceeded 5 billion mark, at 5.168 billion as against 4.72 billion active internet users in April 2020. In March 2021, about 53.4 percent of the internet population existed in Asia, 14.3 percent in Europe, 11.5 percent in Africa, 9.6 percent in Latin America/Caribbean, 6.7 percent in North America, 3.9 percent in Middle East while 0.6 percent internet users were living in Oceania/Australia region.

According to the latest report of the World Internet Stats, in March 2021, global population is estimated to be around 7.875 billion out of which 5.168 billion people are using internet. Thus, penetration of internet throughout the world is 65.6 percent. In Asia, out of a population of 4.327 billion, 2.762 billion people are using internet. Population of Europe is 835.817 million while 736.995 million Europeans are using internet. Hence, in Europe the penetration of internet is 88.2 percent of the population. Africa’s population is 1.373 billion by March 2021 and 594 million Africans have access to internet. Thus, African region has the lowest internet penetration, 43.2 percent in comparison with other regions in the world. North America has the highest rate of internet penetration, 93.9 percent where 347.916 million people are using internet out of a total population of 370.322 million. Latin America/Caribbean, Middle East and Oceania/Australia have 75.6 percent, 74.9 percent, and 69.9 percent internet penetration, respectively.

Global penetration of Facebook, nonetheless, is far lower than internet. For example, in March 2021, number of Facebook users was 2.803 billion against 5.168 billion internet users in the world. Asia has the highest number of Facebook users with 1.124 billion, however, penetration of FB is just 26 percent. In Europe 521.237 million (62.4 percent of population) are using this social media network. In comparison with population, Facebook penetration in Asia is just 26 percent. North America has the highest penetration of FB with 71.3 percent of its population using this famous social media network. Latin America/Caribbean has 69.5 percent FB penetration, Middle East 54.8 percent, Africa 19.3 percent while Oceania/Australia region has 56.4 percent penetration of Facebook by March 2021.

In April 2020, global population stood at 7.77 billion while the internet users were estimated around 4.57 billion, 59 percent of the population. Active social media users in the world were estimated at 3.81 billion, 49 percent of the global population. During COVID-19 lockdowns in April 2020, most of the smartphone and internet users in the world spent their time online to keep them busy. For instance, 76 percent of the smartphone users stayed online during most of their free time. While 45 percent of the laptop, 32 percent desktop computers, and 22 percent of the digital tablet stayed online. A survey of people between 16 to 64 years of age observed that during the pandemic, people were spending more time online to keep them busy. In other words, the pandemic has reshaped lives of the people all over the world.

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