Trends in Internet Usage in the Arab World [Report]

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Did you know  that 28% of Arab internet users prefer social media as their main source of news? Individuals worldwide are downloading educational material, shopping for gifts, snapping pictures and sharing them with loved ones on Facebook and Instagram, planning vacations, finding new jobs, planning careers, and even buying their cars using the internet.

A comprehensive regional study, recently conducted by and the Dubai School of Government’s Governance and Innovation Program, analyzes the trends of internet usage in the Arab region. The survey was conducted in March 2013 with a total of 3373 respondents from all countries in the Arab region; including Algeria, Djibouti, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE.

We’ve summarized some of the findings of the research below. The full report can be downloaded from the grey box on the right.

How do people in the Arab region access the internet?

Internet access via mobile device is quickly approaching the same usage as laptops and desktop computers, making it essential for companies to have a mobile app or mobile-friendly version of their websites.

  • 61% of Arab users access the internet through a laptop or desktop.
  • 16% use a smartphone to access the internet.
  • 11% do so through a tablet.
  • 12% use a regular mobile phone.

When are people in the Arab region most likely to spend the most time online?

From the results we can see that Arab internet users are not very active online during lunch breaks at work or during holidays and weekends.

  • 49% of respondents spend most of their time on the internet after 6pm on workdays.
  • 16% spent most of their time on the internet between 8am and 12 pm on workdays.
  • 13% do so between 12pm and 6pm on workdays.

Who uses social networks while at work?

  • 43% of respondents said they access social media at work.
  • 17% of respondents said it was not permitted or blocked.
  • 33% claimed that they simply do not have the time to do so.

Where do Arab internet users go for the latest news?

Online news sources and portals are still the most popular when it comes to getting the latest info in the Arab world with 36% of respondents favoring them, though social media is picking up fast with 28% of respondents saying that they get their news from their favorite social networks, while another 28% get it from more traditional media sources.

Which social networks do Arab users spend the most time on?

  • 54% of respondents use Facebook more than once a day, followed by Google+  at 30% and Twitter at 14%.

How does the internet affect the lives of users in the Arab region?

  • 85% of Arab users agree that social media has enabled better social activity for them.
  • 88% of Arab internet users said that the internet has provided them with better learning opportunities.
  • 27% of Arab internet users do not see the internet as a threat to their privacy, while 34% have chosen to stay neutral.

For more stats about Arab internet usage, download the full report here or in the grey box on the right.

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