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With 43% of the global population using the Internet at least once a month, it’s easy to see that the world is evolving into an increasingly digital space. Yet each region of the planet is unique in terms of population and adoption of technology. In an effort to keep pace with regional development, eMarketer recently released its fifth annual Global Media Intelligence Report. To give online marketers an understanding of how they should prioritize audiences in different areas of the globe, we’ve summarized the most important statistics below.
Asia-Pacific is already a massive digital hub, with nearly half of Internet users worldwide hailing from the region. eMarketer predicts that by 2019, the number will grow to 52%. Currently there is a digital divide between rural areas with limited Internet access and more developed regions, but eMarketer says that the rise of smartphones will help bridge the gap. In 2015, 62.5% of the population owns mobile phones, but that penetration rate is expected to rise to 69.4% by 2019.
eMarketer forecasts a booming mobile phone market in Central and Eastern Europe. According to their numbers, the area has 298 million mobile users this year, and that number will pass 303 million in 2016. However, the report states that the level of smartphone usage is still lower than most parts of the world, with fewer than half of mobile phone users in the area owning smartphones. The good news is that smartphone use is expanding rapidly in the region, and is expected to grow by 26.9% this year.
eMarketer estimates that 307.5 million Western European residents will go online at least once per month in 2015. Western Europe has the second-largest smartphone user base worldwide behind APAC, with 218 million people predicted to use them regularly this year. eMarketer points out that the market is still expanding by double digits each year, and expects that this trend will continue until 2017.
Mobile is also taking off in Latin America, where the total number of mobile phone users is expected to pass 396 million this year. eMarketer predicts that more than 155 million people in the region will use a smartphone in 2015. While smartphone penetration hasn’t passed 40%, eMarketer expects that to occur in 2016.
eMarketer estimates that 416.9 million people in the Middle East and Africa will access the Internet at least once per month in 2015. By 2019, that number is expected to be nearly 575 million web users, with more than 37% regularly using the Internet. The region is one of the fastest growing mobile markets. According to the report, 606 million people in the Middle East and Africa will have at least one mobile phone this year, with that number predicted to pass 789 million in 2019.
North America already boasts one of the most mature markets for digital media, with nearly 260 million people going online at least once a month this year. eMarketer expects that within four years, 83.3% of North Americans will access the web regularly. eMarketer also says that 80% of people living in the US and Canada own at least one mobile phone, and 70% of those mobile owners use a smartphone. Based on the popularity of smartphones, eMarketer projects that 215 million people in the region will access the web with their phone in 2015. That share is expected to pass 87% in 2019.
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