Global digital trends in 2020

25/02/2020 | Rebecca Twose

The rise of digital is one of the biggest revolutions in human history. It’s often easy to overlook how advanced digital technology has become in recent years, especially when the first mobile phones only got released less than 40 years ago in 1984. However, you only have to take a glance at the Martech 5000 ‘Marketing  Technology Landscape Supergraphic to get an idea of how massive the marketing & digital industry is, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

The mid-80s and early 90s were undoubtedly the tipping point of the digital revolution, with Tim Berners Lee inventing the World Wide Web in 1989 which was released to the public 2 years later. But how far has digital come since then, and what global digital trends should marketers be aware of? In this article, we will be exploring different digital trends from around the world to get a better insight into what the future of digital marketing will look like.

Online vs. Offline Advertising

digital trends

Gone are the days when Digital marketing was referred to as a ‘trend’ or a ‘niche’, as in 2018-2019 digital made up 51% of US ad spending and by 2021 it is expected that digital will make up around 48% of global advertising spend. We are starting to see how digital is quickly becoming bigger than offline marketing which means as digital ceases to be a niche, offline marketing will soon take its place.

Global Internet Usage

In Hootsuite and We Are Social’s 2020 Global Digital Report, it was found that the total number of internet users worldwide is 4.54 billion increasing by 7% since 2019, which is 59% of the world’s total population. This is actually surprisingly lower than what most people might think, especially if you’re from a very economically developed country where everyone has a smartphone.

Global digital trends

However, in less economically developed countries like parts of Africa, the internet penetration can be as low as 22% as having access to the internet is far less common and is seen as a luxury. Therefore with international marketing, companies need to consider whether digital is best suited for the region that they’re targeting as that area may still respond better to offline marketing. It is clear that we are heading for a world where everybody has access to the internet as internet usage is increasing across all regions, even under-developed countries are using the internet at an ever-increasing rate. 

Mobile vs. Desktop

Mobile search trends

Another notable digital trend is how people are using the internet and the devices that they are using. Mobile search is rapidly increasing amongst internet users with mobile phones accounting for over 50% of the time that people spend online. As more people search online with their phones, there may be a time in the future where desktop search is only ever used by people in a commercial setting where they are sat in an office at their desks with a computer.

Global Social Media Use

Global digital trends

According to the Global Digital Report 2020, there has been a 9.2% increase in global social media usage since January 2019. The number of social media users worldwide as of January 2020 was 3.8 billion which is over 49% of the world’s total population.

During January 2019, Statista reported that the top 5 countries that have the highest social media penetration are the UAE at 99%, Taiwan at 89%, South Korea at 85%, Singapore at 79% and Hong Kong at 78%. Countries that have the lowest social media penetration are Nigeria at 12%, Kenya at 16%, Ghana at 19%, India at 23%, and South Africa and Egypt at 40%. These statistics are based on the amount of active social media users for the top social networks in each country compared to the total population.

Reasons why these countries use social media more than others is most likely related to the economy of that country, as the 5 countries with the lowest social media penetration are predominately developing countries compared to the UAE and Singapore that have strong economies. Another reason could be due to the culture of that country, as some cultures are a lot more social than others and this could mean that they value social media a lot more. The economy of that country could also be a contributing factor as the 5 countries with the lowest social media penetration are also predominately developing countries.

Future Digital Trends

Are we heading into a world where everybody will have access to the internet? Will mobile search become the primary way to use the internet, or will desktop still have its use in a commercial context? How will voice search affect digital marketing? The future of digital is exciting and who knows what it will mean for consumers and businesses alike!

If you are looking to expand your business internationally and want to take advantage of digital marketing, then get in touch with our Digital Teams to see how our digital services can help you with your language needs. Our digital services include website localisation, multilingual SEO, DTP, content writing and more!

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