Facebook is Growing Fast in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East

With Facebook recently passing 175 million users, I decided to update my analysis of its user base. The weekly growth in number of users has remained steady, with the last 5 weeks being exceptionally strong: Facebook added over 25 million users since early February. The share of U.S. users inched up slightly from 30% to 31%.

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The company added users in all regions but compared to my analysis in early December, growth accelerated in Asia and North America. Note that the number of users in Asia remains small compared to other social networks in the region. The number of users from Canada still exceeds the total in all of Asia (still under 10 million). Within Asia, the fastest-growing countries over the last 12 weeks were Indonesia (up 169%) and the Philippines (up 119%). (For reasons as to how Facebook has expanded in specific countries, I encourage Radar readers to share their thoughts in the comments.)

Europe and South America both experienced double-digit growth rates over the last 12 weeks, but compared to last December, Facebook grew much slower in both regions. A third of all users (33%) now come from Europe. Among the smaller countries in Europe, Facebook grew fastest in the Czech Republic (up 144%) and Slovakia (up 137%). Among the larger European countries, growth was fastest in Italy (up 71%), Spain (up 66%), and Germany (up 48%).

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With such a large user base, the company continues to attract application developers to its platform. The number of active Facebook apps continues to grow but at a much slower rate, roughly 2% per week over the last 12 weeks. (For this analysis, I define a Facebook app to be active if it had at least 100 active users.) The graph below compares the relative size of the Facebook, Myspace, and iPhone application platforms:pathint

I used a different definition of what constitutes an active app for each of the three platforms depending on what data is available — so strictly speaking direct comparisons are not appropriate. I still find it interesting that even with the stricter definition of active, Facebook dwarfs the Myspace platform and far outnumbers the number of apps in the U.S. iTunes app store. For some context on the relative size of the iPhone platform: I recently tweeted that the number of apps that have appeared in iTunes has surpassed 25K, but the number of actives in the most recent week was roughly 18K.

I close with an update of age and gender statistics by region. Europe and South America continue to add teens (13-17) and college-age (18-25) users at a faster rate than North America. Compared to my post in December, North American growth in the 45-54 age group jumped from 47% to 88%. Facebook continued to post strong growth among working age (26-65) North Americans with the share of users in the 26-54 age bracket increasing from 39% in early December, to 46%.

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Growth in Asia was strong in all age groups, while the number of U.S. users aged 45-65 more than doubled. Compared to last December, growth has slowed in the Middle East & North Africa, but the share of teen users grew from 14% to 17% of all users in the region. The fastest growing countries in the Middle East /N. Africa were Tunisia (up 92%) and Morocco (up 40%). With just over 9.8M users, Turkey is home to 69% of users in the region — only the U.S., the U.K, and Canada have more Facebook users.

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There has been a dramatic change in the age-distribution in the U.S. Within the U.S. the share of users in the 26-54 age bracket rose from 35% in early December to 47%, and the share of college-age users (18-25) fell from 46% to 38%.

Even as the company adds millions of members, the gender split persists from week-to-week: M (44%), F (51%), Decline To State (5%).

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Regionally, women outnumber men in all but the following regions: Asia, Africa, and especially in the Middle East /North Africa.

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[UPDATE (3/18/2009): I’m posting charts created to fulfill a recent request for details on Asia and Africa. Data for both charts were through 3/11/2009.]

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  • Vanessa

    Hello Ben, a year ago you wrote a great post about Where Does Facebook Grow From Here (tinyurl.com/3wyrh8). I would like to know where i could find more recent statistics about use of facebook or hi5 in latinamerica, or Perú, if it is possible. I am writing an article about doing bussiness with these tools for a peruvian newspaper. I would appreciate your helping me. Thanx a lot.

  • Mikhail

    Hi Ben,

    Could you please give me a link for Facebook user numbers / breakdown in the Middle East and North Africa? The link above just gives a jpg picture with no numbers. Also, if you could recommend a good source for other major social network stats, I’d be very grateful!

    Cheers,

    Mikhail

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hi Mikhail,

      I’ve been meaning update this post and will do so soon. In the meantime here are some graphs that may contain the Facebook numbers you want.

      Facebook ACTIVE users in the Middle East and North Africa through 4/15/2009:

      * TOTAL Active users (in hundreds of thousands). Location is based on IP address.

      * Active users by AGE GROUP (in hundreds of thousands). Age is based on voluntary user-supplied birth dates.

      Hope these help!
      Ben

  • sakura

    I’m doing a research about facebook in the UAE, and now that i saw some graphs provided by Ben Lorica.. i really would like to know more of how do you make these graphs or if you can’t, please provide me more of these graphs about the middle east and the UAE.

  • henry

    It’s great to be able to connect with old and new friends, business associates, etc. Years ago, you could only talk on the phone (remember the rotary ones?), send letters (with stamped envelopes) and stopped by to chat. Now you can connect with practically EVERYONE, even at the same time. Ah, the wonders of modern technology http://wiwapia.com/en/Social_networking ! I’ll be on Facebook sometime today, have to see what’s new in the digital video world.

  • sakura

    Oh, sorry Ben.. I noticed that after i posted the reply.

    And.. Thank you again for the other links. They are very useful.

  • sakura

    Oh, sorry Ben.. I noticed that after i posted the reply.

    And.. Thank you again for the other links. They are very useful.

  • Dana

    Hi Ben,

    May I know where you are getting the data from, because Im getting totally different figures.

    I need an updated estimate of the number of facebook users for all the countries in the Middle East. By age group as well.

    Thanks!

    Dana

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Dana,

      Please refer to my most recent post (6/17/2009) on this subject. Specifically, see slides 11 and 12.

      Ben

  • crystal k

    hi… i think your website has great up to date info.
    can you tell me the Age demographic for the Central America and CAribbean? more specific to the Caribbean though.

    thanks

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Crystal,

      Please refer to my most recent post (6/17/2009) on this subject.

      Ben

  • muriel

    Hi Ben, thanks so much for the info! I was wondering if you could help me out: I need to collect evidence that Facebook is hip and happening in EUrope, mainly Netherlands, for the middle aged age group ( 35 – 55 ). This is for my online marketing proposal that I would like to present to my directors sometime soon! :) Or would you be able to send me some other useful links? Thanks a mil, really appreciated! Kind regards, Muriel

  • ibrahim ali

    “Our LORD Appreciated Christians as per Quranic Verses 3:55,5:82,57:27,28 Except Quranic Verses 5:14,15,16 & 57,9:31. As per Quranic Versus 4:59 and 83, it is our duty to spread the following messages to all concerns towards public peace, security, health and wealth of mankind in the world as per our website http://www.goldenduas.com. The following message ought to have published to all the members of the group so far.As per quranic versus 4:59 and 83 it is a duty tospread the following messages in the interest of public peace, health and wealth. “please download from web site http://WWW.GOLDENDUAS.COM for peace, security, health& wealth for mankind and the same may be published to all members of the group based on quranic verses 2:2,10:57,17:11,16,28:59,39:55,57,13:37&65:8. Otherwise it will amount to refusal to follow our Lord Order, guidance and direction as per Quranic verses 6:26″ Please kindly arrange to post the above said message in the group website in the interest of public to know all concerns in the interest of peace, security, health and wealth of all mankind. Otherwise it will amount to refuse to follow our Lord Order, guidance and direction as per Quranic verses 6:26

    With kind regards

    U.IBRAHIMALI

  • http://www.blurty.com/users/magpulmags555 Tim

    I’m sure the polar bears in Antarctica aren’t far behind…. facebook is taking over the world