20% of People Worldwide Will Use Social Networks This Year

Social Network User Penetration Worldwide via eMarketerA new report by eMarketer, “Worldwide Social Network Usage: Market Size and Growth Forecast,” lays out the numbers for social networking growth over the next few years. In 2012, there will be 1.43 billion social network users, a nearly 20% increase over 2011.  One out of every five people worldwide will use a social network this year; one in every four will do so in 2014.

Defining users as those who visit a social network at least once a month, 63.2% of the world’s internet audience will use social networks.  This number is projected to rise to 67.6% in 2013 and then to 70.7% in 2014.

“The strength of social networking as a worldwide online activity cannot be understated,” says Debra Aho Willamson, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the report.

How does Facebook play into this growth?  The social networking giant is the leading reason for this expansion, according to eMarketer, especially Facebook’s rapid growth in Brazil, India and Indonesia. In 2012, 837.3 million people worldwide will use Facebook, a 27.4% increase from 2011.

Among the top five social networking markets in 2012, three are dominated by Facebook:  the US, India and Brazil.  But China and Russia are also have huge social networking populations, independent of Facebook.

The countries with the largest Facebook followings include: the US (141.2 million in 2012), India (68.1 million), Indonesia (49.1 million), Brazil (45.4 million) and Mexico (25.6 million users).