Media, content and technology research specialists at IPSOS, the leading research agency in MENA, which has covered 20 MENA countries for over 25 years, prepared a study compiling the figures related to internet penetration, smartphones penetration, and social network penetration in the MENA region in 2013.
From an internet population (those accessible to the internet) of 1.9 million in Lebanon, internet penetration reached 61% in 2013. In KSA, while the internet population was 12.3 million, internet penetration hit 82%. Accordingly, UAE saw a 92% penetration out of the internet population of 6.1 million, Egypt saw a 44% penetration out of the internet population of 9.2 million, Kuwait experienced a 79% penetration out of the internet population of 2.1 million, and Jordan witnessed a 56% penetration out of the internet population of 2.3 million.
Regarding the smartphone penetration across the total population in 2013, KSA came first with 79%, followed by UAE (72%), Kuwait (69%), Lebanon (63%), and Egypt (6%). In terms of mobile internet access across smartphone owners, the highest in 2013 was Kuwait (90%), followed by Lebanon (85%), KSA (84%), UAE (83%), and Egypt (68%).
Social network penetration
In 2013 Jordan, ranked the highest in terms of penetration of social networks among internet users, hitting 95%, followed by Egypt (89%), UAE (87%), Lebanon (87%), Kuwait (87%), and KSA (81%). Researchers found that Facebook and Twitter were the top social networks by far. Jordan was again ahead in ranking with 100% of social network users penetrating Facebook in 2013. UAE and Egypt equally followed at 99% while Lebanon reached 98%. In KSA, 93% of social network users accessed Facebook and only 83% did in Kuwait. However, penetration of Twitter among social network users slightly differed. Regarding Twitter use, KSA ranked the highest at 57%, followed by Kuwait (48%), UAE (43%), Egypt (35%), Lebanon (28%), and Jordan (10%).