Globally, digital consumers spent nearly 2.5 hours every day on social networks and messaging in 2019, according to Global Web Index’s Social Media Trends 2019 report.
In India, rising usage can largely be attributed to the falling cost of data usage. About three out of five Indian social media users felt that the usage of social media has made it easier to manipulate people with fake news.
On average, Indian users spent 2.4 hours on social media, in line with the global average. Over time, India and Chinese users’ patterns have converged.
The study surveyed 2.78 lakh respondents across 45 countries; there were over 15,000 respondents from India.
Users in the Philippines spent the most time on social media — over four hours. Meanwhile, users in Japan spent a mere 45 minutes on average.
Compared to 2012, users in South Africa and the Philippines have increased their usage the highest, while the the on-screen duration of users in Italy and Spain changed the least.
The graph looks at how select countries have been spending time on social media. While usage has increased rapidly in the Philippines and Brazil, growth has been relatively sluggish in India and China.
The graph below plots the average time spent on social media per day in 2019 against the average cost of 1 GB data (Data from cable.co.uk) in US$ across select countries. Size of the dot represents Internet penetration.
It can be seen that in many developing countries like India, the cost of 1 GB data is less (in fact, it is the least). It is also in these countries that the Internet penetration is less, but social media usage is high.
Several developed Western countries have high Internet penetration and also high cost of data; in these countries, social media usage is generally less.
The outlook on social media
In 2018, 65% of Indian users thought that social media kept people informed on current events, while nearly half thought it made people more divided in their political opinions. The table below, taken from a Pew survey, shows the perceptions Indians have about social media.