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SA Internet users ranked world’s 4th busiest

A report by Sortlist reveals South Africans spend over 54 days on social media per year.

There are currently over 6.6 billion smartphone users in the world. But how does the time that the average South African spends on their device compare to other countries?

A new interactive calculator created by the experts at Sortlist allows users to discover the average amount of time they spend on devices, the apps consuming the most of their time and how this compares to other countries.

Sortlist provided the following information on the world’s top 10 countries Internet activity:

RankCountryPopulation who use the InternetTime spent using the Internet per dayTime spent using the Internet per yearTotal time spent on social media per dayTotal time spent on social media per year
1Philippines67.0%10:56166 days04:1565 days
2Brazil75.0%10:08154 days03:4256 days
3Colombia68.0%10:07154 days03:4557 days
4South Africa64.0%10:06154 days03:3254 days
5Argentina80.0%09:39147 days03:2251 days
6Malaysia40.0%09:17141 days03:0146 days
7Mexico71.0%09:01137 days03:2752 days
8Indonesia73.7%08:52135 days03:1449 days
9Thailand69.5%08:44133 days02:4843 days
10Taiwan90.0%08:08124 days01:5629 days

The “Time spent using the Internet per day” figure reflects time connected to the Internet, whether they’re looking at their screens or not.

According to the research:

  • South Africa is the country spending the world’s 4th highest time online, with the average person spending 10 hours and 6 minutes a day browsing the Internet, which equates to 154 days a year. Brazil also spends 3 hours and 32 minutes a day on social media, equating to 54 days a year.
  • The average person spends around 52,925 minutes scrolling social media each year, which is a whopping 36 days, 18 hours and 5 minutes.
  • Sports games are the apps taking up the most of our time, as the average user spends around 23 minutes on these apps, followed by casual gaming (21 mins).
  • Looking at specific apps, YouTube is the one we spend the most time on (11 days, 14 hours), compared to the likes of TikTok in 5th place (6 days, 16 hours).

Nicolas Finet, co-founder and CMO at Sortlist, revealed why the calculator was created: “Over the past 18 months or so we have spent more time behind a screen than ever. As a result of the pandemic, many people have been forced to work from home, spend copious amounts of time on Zoom calls and used their free time to scroll social media and utilise the array of apps at our disposal, but all of this time spent online can build up.

“Without even knowing, we spend a lot of time behind a screen and because of this, we wanted to create the calculator to enable users to fully understand the extent of our digital lives and where the majority of our time is spent and how this compares to countries across the world.

“Taking a digital detox isn’t always easy and temptation can get the better of us, but if you’re persistent and enjoy some time away from your screen, it’s very likely you’ll reap the benefits from doing so.”

Finet recommends taking a digital detox by taking the following steps:

  • Deleting social media apps for a short period of time
  • Remove notifications from apps to avoid temptation
  • Set aside some ‘phone free time’ each day to enjoy other activities

To try the calculator, click here.

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