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Revealed: How much time UAE residents spend on social media

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on January 15, 2019 | Last updated on January 15, 2019 at 06.46 am

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The data showed that people in the UAE now spend 50 minutes more on social media as compared to 7 years ago.

The UAE residents' addiction to the Internet and social media is growing year-on-year as they spend more time with every passing year, a new study says.

According to Global Web Index, the UAE residents spend astonishingly 3 hours and 11 minutes on average on the social media - which is highest in the Middle East and Africa region and 6th highest globally. On a year-on-year basis, the time spent on social media increased by 15 minutes last year, which is also the second highest rise globally after Saudi Arabia where time spent on social media grew by 17 minutes.

The data showed that people in the UAE now spend 50 minutes more on social media as compared to 7 years ago in 2012 when average time spent was around 2 hours and 21 minutes.

This increase can largely be attributed to high penetration of Internet and smart phones and new crop of apps as well as social media platforms.

According to Statista, the UAE has the highest mobile penetration rate in the world at 173 per cent followed by Greece, Oman, Portugal and Estonia.

Data by Global Web Index revealed that the use of social media is one of the highest in the world at 97 per cent with 9.9 social media accounts on average as against 9.4 accounts in the previous year.

A recent survey by KPMG found that the UAE consumers are increasingly relying on technology and have a growing desire to be connected, with 67 per cent stating that they see value in harnessing the power of technology.

Anwar Nusseibeh, an Emirati tech guru and a co-founder of vlogging app 1TAM, said Internet and social media play a prominent role in the Middle East's social sphere, as they offer convenient platforms to people who may have not been able to express their views openly, to do so.

"I expect social media to continue to grow in the next few years because millennials and generation Z have more things to speak about and are more comfortable sharing their experiences and parts of their lives on social media; which was once seen as taboo in the region," Nusseibeh said.

Currently, he said, Instagram and Snapchat are the most-utilised social media apps in the Middle East, however; there is still a gap in the experiences offered by these platforms that other apps, such as the latest UAE homegrown social media vlogging App '1TAM' (1Thing About Me), will be able to fill.
Dana Ashkar, founder of Caho Chocolate, people share the "urge of connecting" due to the invention of the smartphone, social media, and gaming apps.

"This urge extends from our innate desire as a social species to communicate and communication creates change whether for the better or worse, it all depends on the individual and their projecting intentions," she said, adding that "according to our insights the most popular apps today in the UAE are Whatsapp, Messenger, Facebook and Instagram."

The survey was conducted across 44 countries and 1,784 residents participated in the survey.
From Arab region, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the top 44 where the residents spent 2 hours and 57 minutes on average on the social media in 2018.

Globally, people in the Philippines spend the most time on social media when compared to any other country. Filipinas spent 4 hours and 11 minutes followed by Brazilians at 3 hours and 41 minutes; Indonesians at 3 hours and 22 minutes; Argentinians at 3 hours and 20 minutes; Thais at 3 hours and 17 minutes; Mexicans at 3 hours and 12 minutes; Malaysians at 3 hours and 9 minutes; South Africans at 3 hours and 4 minutes. - waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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