Qatar and the UAE have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world at 99 per cent each, while the overall internet usage in the Middle East jumped 15 per cent compared to last year.
Of the 246 million people living in the Middle East, 60 per cent (147 million) now use the internet – up 15 per cent from 2016 – 34 per cent (93 million) are active on social media, representing a 47 per cent year on year rise.
Globally the amount of web traffic on mobile devices has soared in recent years, with just over half (50.3 per cent) now being accessed this way, a significant rise from 2013 (35 per cent) and from the first figure recorded in 2009 of 0.7 per cent, according to the report released by Hootsuite and We Are Social.
Hootsuite, a widely used social media management platform, and We Are Social, a global social media agency, recently released Digital in 2017, examining data from 238 countries.
The research also disclosed some startling findings on e-commerce, with 1.61 billion people buying online in 2016 (22 per cent of the global population).
It disclosed interesting figures from the more affluent nations in the GCC with 99 per cent of people in the UAE using the internet, 70 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 93 per cent in bahrain.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) established in Saudia Arabia in 1981, is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries which include Saudi Arabia, kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Qatar and UAE have the highest social media penetration of any country in the world (both 99 per cent), while Saudi Arabia has seen the highest growth in penetration with a 73 percent rise resulting in 59 per cent of the Saudi population using social channels, the report said.
Qatar also had the highest percentage of any population using social media through mobile devices (95 per cent), while UAE was second with (88 per cent) and Saudi Arabia was just under half the population (49 per cent).
“The rise in digital use in the Middle East should not surprise anyone, but I think most people would be surprised at just how sharply it’s rising and the figures on mobile use in the GCC are quite incredible,” said Chris Fountain, Managing Director of Turret Media, organisers of the two-day exhibition MEFTECH 2017 which will take place in abu dhabi in March.