By Sarah Townsend
Number of Snapchat users rises threefold in UAE, Saudi Arabia since 2014
The UAE has seen a surge in the number of people using social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat, with usage rates standing at well above the global average, new research shows.
Instagram’s worldwide average usage stands at 42 percent of internet users as of this year, rising from 24 percent two years ago, according to research consultancy Kantar TNS
By comparison, in the UAE, average usage stands at 60 percent of internet users, up from 38 percent in 2014, the research said.
Similarly, global average usage of Snapchat stands at 23 percent of users in 2016, whereas in the UAE the figure is 53 percent, up from 15 percent in 2014 and representing a threefold increase from two years ago.
Levels of Instagram and Snapchat usage are also higher than the global average in Saudi Arabia, with average usage of Instagram in the kingdom rising from 57 percent in 2014 to 82 percent in 2016, and average usage of Snapchat rising from 24 percent in 2014 to 74 percent in 2016 – also a threefold increase from two years ago.
The ‘Connected Life’ study was conducted among more than 70,000 consumers in all markets between June and September. It suggests that the popularity of Instagram and Snapchat has soared as people seek out personal and “in the moment” content, Kantar TNS said.
The findings also indicate behavioural differences between internet users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia when compared to the global average, and suggest that the two countries are more open to online advertising than others elsewhere in the world, it added.
Stephen Hillebrand, CEO of Kantar Insights MENAP, said: “Gulf markets continue to lead the way on social media usage. Globally, the use of Snapchat has almost doubled in the last two years from 12 percent to 23 percent.
“However, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE the app has witnessed a massively higher growth in usage. In both of these markets it has tripled in usership.
“This acceleration is in line with the high social media usage we have recorded in previous studies, but the magnitude of the growth took us by surprise.”