It’s no secret that Internet penetration has increased dramatically in the Middle East in recent years. More and more people are coming online and it helps explain the growth of tech entrepreneurship in the region. But what are the trends and patterns in Internet and mobile usage in the region? What do they mean now and how will they shape the future?
How do we answer those questions? Data. At WOMENA we love data and think it’s a very useful tool to measure a lot of different things so when we came across the excellent “The Arab World Online 2014: Trends in Internet and Mobile Usage in the Arab Region” report from The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government we were intrigued. It’s a great read and we highly recommend it. The report is over a year old now but we still think the report is relevant to understanding the trends and patterns in 2016.
The statistics are likely to have changed somewhat with more users but they still show the magnitude of the opportunity for startups and investors in the Middle East. Here though are some key facts and findings from the report:
- There are more than 135 million individuals using the Internet in 22 Arab countries (about 36% of the population)
- Total users has been growing 20% annually
- The mobile penetration rate is 110%
- There are 71 million active social media users
So what do these statistics mean for the Middle East? It points to the massive opportunities available in the Middle East for startups and investors alike. There’s clearly a market for companies to emerge meeting the needs of these Internet users. It will take time for the market to mature but it’s an exciting time to be involved. We expect to see continued growth in 2016 with more startups and success stories emerging across the region from Morocco to the UAE. Watch this space!