March 20, 2015

10 facts about technology use in the emerging world

The Pew Research Center surveyed thousands of people across 32 emerging and developing nations about their technology use and how the rising influence of the internet affects their daily lives. But beyond the larger findings, we found some notable data points about specific countries that might have been lost in the fray.

Nations Skipping the Landline Phone1Almost no one in Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh and Uganda owns a landline telephone. Many people worldwide are skipping the fixed telephone line that many Americans grew up with, and this fact is most apparent in many emerging and developing nations. Only 1% of the population in Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh and Uganda say they own a working landline telephone in their household, while 89% in Nigeria, 83% in Ghana, 76% in Bangladesh and 65% in Uganda own cell phones. This compares with 60% landline penetration in the U.S.

2Chinese internet users love to shop. About half of online Chinese (52%) have used the internet to buy products in the past 12 months. Given the size of the online Chinese marketplace, this goes a long way in explaining the meteoric rise of commerce giants such as Alibaba and Baidu.

3Filipinos love social networking. Among adult internet users in the Philippines, 93% say that they use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is the highest such percentage across the emerging and developing countries surveyed and greater than the 74% of internet users in the U.S. who use social networking sites. Roughly seven-in-ten of those Filipino social networkers use these platforms to share views about music and movies, while half talk about sports.

Social Media Popular in Emerging and Developing Nations

4Indians and Bangladeshis use the internet for job hunting. Very few people in India and Bangladesh use the internet – only 20% and 11% respectively. But among those who do, job searching is a popular activity. Majorities of internet users in Bangladesh (62%) and India (55%) say they have looked for a job online in the past year, the highest rates among the 31 countries surveyed that have enough internet users to analyze.

5Young Thais are internet enthusiasts. In every country we polled, younger people ages 18 to 34 are substantially more likely to say they use the internet than those who are older. Especially large differences occur in Asia, and particularly in Thailand, where 83% of 18- to 34-year-olds are online, but only 27% of those 35 and older are.

6Politics is a big social media topic in Lebanon. Among Lebanese who use social networks, an astounding three-quarters say they use the platform for discussing politics. Similar levels of political participation occur among social network users in Egypt (66%) and Jordan (63%). Across all the countries surveyed with sufficient numbers, only a median of 34% say they talk politics using social media, including 16% of Filipino and Vietnamese social networkers and 19% of Indonesians.

Middle Eastern Social Media Users More Likely to Talk Politics

7Ukrainians get their political news online. Overall, a median of 54% of internet users across emerging and developing countries surveyed use the internet to get political news and information. But in Ukraine that figure is much higher: Eight-in-ten internet users do so. The survey was fielded after the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych from office in early 2014 and toward the beginning of the ongoing conflict with Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, meaning many Ukrainians followed those news events online. However, only 53% of Ukrainians have access to the internet.

8Nearly eight-in-ten Russians own a computer. Due to the rise of smartphones, many people in emerging and developing nations access the internet from a device other than a personal computer. But about eight-in-ten Americans (80%) and Russians (78%) have a working computer in their household. In contrast, only 3% in Uganda say they have a computer in their home.

9Venezuelans like taking pictures and videos with their phones. Overall, Latin Americans (just like in the U.S.) are the quite keen on capturing the world around them, with more than six-in-ten mobile owners in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua saying they have taken videos or pictures with their phones in the past year. In Venezuela, this is particularly common: Three-quarters of cell phone owners (who constitute 88% of the adult population) use their device to take pictures or video.

10Many Poles access medical information online, especially women. More than six-in-ten internet users in Poland (64%) say they have gotten health information online in the past 12 months. This includes 72% of female internet users, but only 56% of male users. Similar gender gaps are found in the U.S., and also in Russia and Ukraine.

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media, Technology Adoption

  1. Photo of Jacob Poushter

    is a senior researcher focusing on global attitudes at Pew Research Center.

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8 Comments

  1. Viral Boat5 months ago

    A humble thanks for your great article. you can read such interesting article about technology also at viralboat.com/top-10-most-amazin…

    Reply
  2. Jaiyae1 year ago

    These fact are useful

    Reply
  3. John1 year ago

    Overall, a median of 54% of internet users across emerging and developing countries surveyed use the internet to get political news and information. But in Ukraine that figure is much higher

    Reply
  4. Chandra V Pakala1 year ago

    In a Mobile World, Mobile Age peoples (Ex : I.T Engineers) don’t even use there heads to communicate to mobilly .

    Reply
  5. Shane1 year ago

    Ukrainians get their political news online. Overall, a median of 54% of internet users across emerging and developing countries surveyed use the internet to get political news and information. But in Ukraine that figure is much higher: Eight-in-ten internet users do so. The survey was fielded after the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych from office in early 2014 and toward the beginning of the ongoing conflict with Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, meaning many Ukrainians followed those news events online. However, only 53% of Ukrainians have access to the internet.

    Reply
  6. Richard Dreyer1 year ago

    Say what?

    China is an emerging world?
    Russia is an emerging world?
    Poland is an emerging world?
    Ukraine is an emerging world?
    Venezuela is an an emerging world?
    Am I mistaken or does Russia have communications satellites and possibly a Moon base?
    Has China landed a spacecraft on the moon?
    I guess the author would consider Middle Eastern countries EMERGED; technologically speaking of course. I’m sure Lybia’s Space program far exceeds that of any country mentioned on the list.

    Reply
    1. Jacob Poushter1 year ago

      Hi Richard,

      Our methodology for grouping countries into economic categories (“advanced”, “emerging”, and “developing”) can be found here: pewglobal.org/2014/10/30/appendix-a

      The methodology does not take into account technological accomplishments in any of these countries. Rather, it relies on economic data from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

      Also, as noted in the full report (which can be found here: pewglobal.org/2015/03/19/interne…) internet access rates are closely associated with GDP per capita figures. So in this case, since Russia, Poland, and Venezuela are wealthier countries, they have higher internet access rates. However, their national wealth is still much lower than that of the United States and other “advanced” economies that we surveyed in our Spring 2014 survey (which unfortunately were not included in this analysis).

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Jacob Poushter

      Reply
  7. Alex1 year ago

    Saying that 65% of Ugandans own a Cell phone isn’t right at all. Every Ugandan who will read your research will dispute the results because the percentage is over 90%. The person who wrote the article (you can read by following the link below) has true knowledge of cell phone coverage in Uganda and he must have firsthand knowledge.
    durangoherald.com/article/201309…

    Reply