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It’s only been 25 years since Tim Berners-Lee made the World Wide Web available to the public, but in that time, the internet has become an integral part of everyday life for most of the world’s population. There are currently 3.77 billion global internet users in 2017, 2.8 billion of which use social media. 

•  Almost two-thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone;

•  More than half the world now uses a smartphone;

•  More than half of the world’s web traffic now comes from mobile phones;

•  More than one in five of the world’s population shopped online in the past 30 days.

Social media not slowing down

Social media use surged by more than 20% in 2016, with Facebook still the big winner - after all, it's been the world’s most popular social platform for the past decade.

Nearly 2.8 billion people around the world now use social media at least once a month, with more than 91% of them doing so on mobile devices.

Social media use has grown 21% year-on-year, with almost half a billion (482 million) new users signing up over the course of 2016. 

Facebook is now used by a quarter of all South Africans, while Instagram has seen the fastest growth of any social network in South Africa over the past year, according to the South African Social Media Landscape Study in 2016. 

The study shows 13-million South Africans now on Facebook, with 10-million, or 77%, using it on mobile devices. Smartphones are used by 7,9 million South Africans to access Facebook, while 1,6 million are using basic feature phones to do so. 

The big surprise in the results came from Instagram, which more than doubled its user numbers in South Africa in 2016. Its 133% growth dwarfed their 2014 figure of 65% growth.

Social apps take over SA smartphones

Social media apps have dominated free downloads on all three major app stores in South Africa, namely Google Play for Android, the Apple App Store for iOS, and the Windows Store. 

WhatsApp is also huge, topping the list of both iOS and Android downloads - that's no surprise to anyone who's addicted to tapping away on their phones. 

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