July 2, 2009, 12:00 AM

Two out of three Internet users around the world visit social networks

A global survey by comScore shows about two-thirds of the world’s 1.1 billion Internet users visited at least one social networking site in May. Russia topped the list of countries using social networks the most, with the U.S. ranking ninth.

U.S. consumers have taken enthusiastically to social networks, but not nearly so much as those in Russia and several other countries, according to new data from web measurement firm comScore Inc.

ComScore reports today that 734.2 million, or two-thirds, of the world’s 1.1 billion Internet users 15 and older went to at least one social networking site in May. The average social network visitor worldwide spent 3.7 hours in May on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and local social sites, and viewed on average 525 pages.

But those figures were much higher in some countries. Russians are the most avid social networkers, with the average Internet user there spending 6.6 hours on social networks and viewing 1,307 pages in May. Brazil (6.3 hours, 1,220 pages) was second and Canada (5.6 hours, 649 pages) was third. The United States ranked ninth at 4.2 hours and 477 pages.

In Russia, 18.9 million of the 31.9 million Internet users, or 59%, visited social networks in May. The top six social sites are Russian, with Vkontakte.ru leading the way with 14.3 million unique visitors in May. Facebook.com ranked seventh among Russian social networkers, with 616,000 unique visitors, and MySpace sites ninth at 371,000.

“Social networking has become a popular online pastime not only in mature Internet markets like North America, but also in developing, high-growth Internet markets such as Russia,” says Mike Read, senior vice president and managing director of comScore Europe. “In a country as geographically large as Russia, social networking represents a way of connecting people from one corner of the country to the other. The highly engaged behavior of social networkers in Russia offers significant opportunity for marketers and advertisers seeking to reach these audiences.”

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