Ashley Nault - Jul 8, 2013
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A recent report by eMarketer reveals that a quarter of world's population is connected to the social media and that in 2017 the global audience of social networks will reach 2.55 billion people.

The Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates study explains the findings by the fast expansion of the social media users base in the growing markets of Asia-Pacific and Middle East-Africa.

Furthermore, the study reveals that in 2017 Asia-Pacific will have the largest population connected to the social networks in the world, and the Middle East and Africa will have the second largest population. In both cases, the penetration rates are among the lowest on the planet, says the study.

Among the countries included in the forecast, eMarketer expects faster growth of populations of social network users from India, Indonesia, Mexico, China, and Brazil. Currently, Asia-Pacific will have the largest user base of social networks with an audience of 777 million and a market share of 44.8 percent of the world by the end of 2013. It is more than triple the audience of Latin America, currently ranking as the second globally.

However, eMarketer predicts changes in that order. Next year, the Middle East-Africa will exceed Latin America, and they will become the region with the second largest audience, while Central and Eastern Europe will exceed North America for the first time.

An inevitable development is going to take place because the use of social media has gone from being a privilege of advanced markets to a common activity for people around the world. In 2013, for example, Middle East and Africa got the fastest increase of users, followed by Asia-Pacific.

In 2015, the most advanced markets in social networks will be North America, Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe, having the highest penetration rates globally. However, in 2016, Latin America will overcome Western Europe with social networks users.

According to the eMarketer estimates, in 2013, 67.7 percent of internet users worldwide will use a social network at least once a month. The proportion will increase to more than three out of four users in 2016.

Social network users by region, 2013:

- Asia-Pacific: 777 million

- Latin America: 216 900 000

- Middle East and Africa: 209 800 000

- North America: 181 200 000

- Western Europe: 174 200 000

- Central and Eastern Europe: 173 600 000

Total: 1 733 000 000

Growth of social network users worldwide between 2011 and 2017:

- 2011: 1.22 billion (+23.7 percent year over year)

- 2012: 1.47 billion (+20.4 percent)

- 2013: 1.73 billion (+18.0 percent)

- 2014: 1.97 billion (+13.4 percent)

- 2015: 2.18 billion (+10.8 percent)

- 2016: 2.37 billion (+8, 9 percent)

- 2017: 2.55 billion (+7.5 percent)

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