Digital 2021: Lots of Numbers

April 23, 2021

One of the Beyond Search team called my attention to the We Are Social / Hootsuite “Digital 2021 April Global Statshot Report.” The original link did not resolve. After a bit of clicking around, we did locate the presentation on the outstanding SlideShare service. No, the SlideShare search function did not work for us, but we know that it will return to its glory soon. Maybe real soon perhaps?

The report with the numbers is located at this link. If that doesn’t work, there is an index located at this link. If these go dead, you can give the We Are Social / Hootsuite explainer at this Datareportal link.

After that bit of housekeeping, what is the “Digital 2021 April Global Statshot Report”? The answer is that it is:

All the latest stats, insights, and trends you need to make sense of how the world uses the internet, mobile, social media, and ecommerce in April 2021. For more reports, including the latest global trends and in-depth local data for more than 240 countries and territories around the world, visit

As readers of this blog have heard, “all” is a trigger word. I want to know how many Dark Web encrypted message services are operated by state actors, not addled college students. Did I find the answer? Nope. So  the “all” is baloney.

The report does provide assorted disclaimers and numerous big numbers; for example, 55.1 percent of 7,850,000,000 people are active social media users. Pretty darned exact. When I was on a trip to Wuhan, China, I was told by our government provided guide, “No one is sure how many people live in Wuhan. There are different methods of counting.” If China can’t deal with counting, I am curious how precise numbers are generated for a global report. Eastern Asia (possibly China?) accounts for 25.1 percent of global Internet users by region. Probably doesn’t matter in the context of a 200 page report in PowerPoint format.

Other findings which jumped out at me as I flipped through the deck which has taken its inspiration from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report last seen in 2019.

  • Mobile users are 92.8 percent of the total number of Internet users and mobile phones account for 54.18 percent of Web traffic
  • The zippiest Internet is located in the UAE
  • Google’s search market share is 92.4 percent. Qwant, which allegedly caused Eric Schmidt to lose sleep, does not appear in the search engine market share table
  • 98 percent of Internet users visit or use social networks
  • TikTok is the 7th most used social platform but the data come from TikTok, an outfit which is probably the gold standard in reliable information.

The reportal document does not explain what these data mean.

Here’s my take: The data provide many numbers which make clear three points:

  1. Mobile is a big deal
  2. Facebook and Google are bigger deals
  3. Criminal activity within these data ecosystems warrants zero attention.

The reportal’s data are free too.

Stephen E Arnold, April 23, 2021


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