The number of worldwide Internet users have now exceeded 4.5 billion (about 67% of the population), and 7% more than the previous year. There has also been a clear increase in the number of users of social networks, which have now reached almost 4 billion (+9.2% compared to the previous year). Notwithstanding this impressive growth, when looking at the regional data, it is clear that there are still major differences between the different geographical areas.
The data provided by the report “Digital 2020”, conducted by We Are Social, focuses on the penetration of new digital technologies in Italy and globally. Northern Europe is the area with the highest percentage of Internet use (95%, while Central Africa has the lowest at only 22%. Italy, with 50 million people connected and 82% penetration, follows a similar trend to other advanced countries.
There are no big surprises, however, concerning the spread of the social media worldwide – the most used platform being Facebook with about two and a half billion users, followed by YouTube with two billion. The Italian data on social media goes slightly against the world trend where the most used platform is YouTube, followed by Whatsapp, with Facebook occupying third position. Two out of the average six hours per day that Italians spend on the web (in their free time) are on social networks.
When looking more closely at the digital habits of Italians, we can see that 94% own a smartphone and, among these, 92% use it to access the web. The spread of smart home systems, now being used by 8% of the population, is also growing rapidly. The number of homes equipped with home automation devices is about 1.7 million, 30% more than the previous year. The market for home devices reached 821 million euros in 2019, with the most popular being voice control systems and security devices.
Another important figure regards digital commerce. In 2019, about 40 million people bought consumer goods on the web. Among the most purchased products are travel services (21.8 billion), electronic devices (4.67 billion) and clothing (4.54 billion). And which tools do Italians use to make online payments? In first place is credit cards (41%), followed by e-wallets (29%) and bank transfers (10%). However, there is still a large share of consumers who continue to pay in cash on delivery (8%).