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Stats on the Internet and eCommerce from the Office of National Statistics

Its great to see the Office of National Statistics using social media to release information. Below is an embed from their Storify account showing recent Statistics on the internet and ecommerce.

Obsessed with Facebook

Great infographic from on Facebook Stats from onlineschools.org

The Stats on Digg
Via: www.onlineschools.org

Social Media Statistics

Whether just researching or engaged in direct work for a client we are often looking at statistics. Whether it is marketing data (website clicks, customer information etc) or financial data (sales numbers). In this internet age I find it very interesting what statistics are readily available and how they can be presented and accessed.

At the highest level (unless we are dealing with a wider unknown universe) one of the best places to start with is the population of the earth. This information is readily available in graph form from Google:

Using the Google interface you can then drill down to your country of choice, in our case often the UK:

and add a comparison to other countries if required. Graph below shows UK compared to France in population and where the French population overtook the UK in the year 2000:

This population information is available from The World Bank and can also be downloaded and accessed via an API (as Google have done).

From here we are often dealing with the number of internet users in a given population. This can be a little more complicated as the question is ‘What defines an internet user?’, someone who has used the internet once in their lives? Clearly ‘yes’ by strict definition but what we are often looking for is active users defining people who use the internet everyday, at least once a week or once a month etc. From the statistics published by The Office for National Statistics :

Internet Usage UK Million %
Every Day 30.1 60
Weekly 6.5 30
Monthly or less 4 8
Never 9.2 18

Worldwide figures are available from Internet World Stats who quote 1,966,514,816 worldwide internet users as of June 2010.

Facebook User Statistics

If we look at a specific  area, like Facebook,  we can can then start to apply the data in a meaningful way. Facebook releases quite detailed user data every quarter and recently made quite a big splash when passing 500 million active users. If we look at this initial figure (rounding up to the nearest half billion!)


The population of the world is 7 billion of which 2 billion are internet users of which .5 billion have an active Facebook account, therefore:

1 in 14 of the worlds population have an active Facebook account

although it is problably more useful to look at internet users to say:

1 in 4 of internet users in the world have an active Facebook account

UK Facebook usage

UK Facebook Users

UK Facebook Users

Looking at the Facebook Statistics for  the UK which are summarised on CheckFacebook.com there are currently 27,279,920 active Facebook users in the UK which it quotes as 63.12% of the internet users in the UK which is taking internet users as just over 43 million which is quite high compared to the office of national statistics.

Based on this if we round down the internet usage to closer the the national statistics figures of say 40 million then it would be fair to say that.

2 out of every 3 internet users in the UK have an active Facebook account.

Summary

In summary these are some pretty big figures and in fairness the trends are possibly more use than the raw numbers. What we can take from the statistics is that Facebook is very popular in the UK more popular than many other parts of the world. It also appears that growth is slowing (in the UK at least) which is probably more a result of saturation than any reduction in Facebook popularity. Lets face it most people in the UK who want an internet connection have one and most people who want a Facebook account have one.

Additional Notes

When looking at the statistics it ‘s worth noting:

  • Facebook defines an active user as ‘users who have returned to the site in the last 30 days’
  • Facebook do not allow users to have multiple accounts (although abuse of this is possible it is not though to greatly affect the figures)
  • You have to be at least 14 years of age to have a Facebook account
  • Most internet users numbers are based on ‘number of adults’