Snapshot: Facebook membership trends 2017 update

A 2017 update of Facebook membership in the Caribbean and a comparison with last year’s findings.

 

When you think Facebook cannot grow any bigger, it does! As at March 2017, Facebook had 1.94 billion monthly active users, and may still be growing!

For the past five years, we, at ICT Pulse, have been tracking Facebook subscriber numbers in the Caribbean. Here we update our findings as at 11 July 2017, and compare them with those from last year’s exercise.

2017 Facebook membership numbers

For our 2017 review, we secured data for 27 Caribbean countries, which are identified in Table 1. The Dutch Caribbean group of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, plus Montserrat and Sint Maarten, are the three new additions to this year’s exercise.

As of 11 July 2017, and according to Facebook, there are approximately 13.7 million Facebook subscribers across the countries examined, which averages to approximately 61% per country, but a regional penetration of around 42%.

Table 1: Estimated number of Facebook subscribers and subscriber penetration in select Caribbean countries as of July 2017 (Sources: Facebook, IMF, CIA World Factbook, Population,city)

 

In terms of absolute figures, the largest number of Facebook members was recorded in the Dominican Republic, at 5.5 million, and was followed by Puerto Rico, with 2.1 million, and Haiti, with 1.7 million. Conversely, the countries with the smallest Facebook membership were recorded in Montserrat, at around 2.900, followed by Anguilla, with 11,000, and the Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba cluster, with 14,000.

In terms of subscriber density – number of Facebook subscribers against country population – the highest was recorded in the Cayman Islands, at 91%, and was followed by Curaçao, at 87%, and Aruba, at 80%. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest Facebook member penetration was reported found in Haiti, at 15%. Guyana was a distant second, with subscriber density of 48%. Excluding those two countries, all of the other countries surveyed had a Facebook user penetration of over 50%.

Has Facebook’s subscriber base in the Caribbean increased or decreased?

In the year since our last Snapshot, Facebook membership appears to have increased by approximately 23% or approximately 2.6 million, across the 27 Caribbean countries examined. As reflected in Figure 1, and with the exception of Montserrat Sint Maarten, and the Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba group, for which data was available only this year, all other countries experienced an increase in subscriber density.

Figure 1: Comparison of Facebook membership penetration in July 2017 and April 2016 in select Caribbean countries (Sources: Facebook, World Bank, IMF, CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, Popultaion.city)

 

The greatest increase in Facebook users since our 2016 review, approximately 1.2 million, was recorded in the Dominican Republic. No other country broke 1 million new users; however, over the past year, Haiti added 500,000 new subscribers, whilst Trinidad and Tobago added 160,000.

Some final thoughts…

For countries of relatively small populations, it is indeed surprising that Facebook is still enjoying robust growth across the Caribbean region In at least half of the countries examined, double figure growth has been recorded over the past two years.

A number of factors are likely to contribute to Facebook’s continued take-up in the region. First, as a popular social network, there is an impetus for individuals to join, as their friends and family may already be members. Second, Caribbean mobile/cellular carriers have been eagerly driving mobile data take-up, but offering a broad range of attractive plans. As a result, more smartphones owners are connecting to the Internet, not only via Wi-Fi, and are not just using their devices for voice and SMS communication, Finally, both of the main mobile/cellular carriers are also offering incentives for their subscribers to access their social networks, including Facebook. For example, Digicel users enjoy free access to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, to name a few, whilst Flow subscribers get free bonus data in their data plans specifically for them to access their social networks.

It will thus be interesting to see whether Facebook will continue to grow in the Caribbean at the rate it has enjoyed over the past few years. At the very least, it is likely to maintain those numbers, as there does not yet appear to be another social network that is yet able to usurp Facebook’s popularity, and neither has its subscribers gotten tired of it…as yet!

 

Image credit:  unsplash.com

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