60% of World’s Mobile Connections now Classified ‘Broadband’ and E-commerce Spend Jumps

Over the past few months, we have been sharing some data in our monthly publication ZASA Magazine derived from the Digital in 2018 report released by We Are Social and Hootsuite; thus far it has given a few key insights into internet usage and social media uptake worldwide. In this article, we turn our focus towards the technology used and how e-commerce has been affected by these upward trends.

The report reveals that mobile data connections are getting faster all over the world, with GSMA Intelligence reporting that more than 60 percent of mobile connections can now be classified as ‘broadband’. However, there are significant differences in mobile connection speeds between countries. Mobile users in Norway enjoy average download speeds of more than 60 Mbps; almost three times the global average.

Mobile users in 6 countries – including the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UAE – now enjoy average connection speeds of more than 50 Mbps. At the other end of the spectrum, mobile users in 18 countries – including India and Indonesia – still suffer from average connection speeds of less than 10 Mbps.

There is good news, though: average mobile connection speeds increased by more than 30 percent over the preceding year.

This isn’t just good news for the impatient, either; faster connections may also help to reduce stress. Research has shown that delays of just a few seconds while buffering video content can trigger the same increase in anxiety levels as watching a horror movie on your own, or trying to solve a complex maths problem.

Partly thanks to these faster download speeds, the average smartphone user around the world now consumes almost 3GB of data every month – an increase of more than 50 percent since January 2017.


The latest data from Statista’s Digital Market Outlook shows that the total value of the e-commerce market for consumer goods grew by 16 percent over the course of 2017. Total annual spend in 2017 reached almost US$1.5 trillion, with fashion products representing the largest single category.

Worldwide, the number of people using e-commerce platforms to buy consumer goods (e.g. fashion, food, electronics, and toys) grew by 8 percent, with almost 1.8 billion people around the world now buying online.

Roughly 45 percent of all internet users now use e-commerce sites, but penetration varies considerably between countries.

The amount that each person spends on e-commerce is also growing, with average revenues per user (ARPU) up by 7 percent year-on-year to reach US$833. The British are the biggest  e-commerce spenders, with annual spend in the UK now greater than US$2,000 per user.


We know that it can be overwhelming sometimes when faced with a mountain of information which is why we keep up with all these developments and trends so you don’t have to. Our solutions are tailored to your needs but rooted in data ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve. Contact us now to get started building an effective online presence for your business.

NB* This is a supplementary post for the Entrepreneur Corner column in Issue 32 of our monthly publication ZASA Magazine, please download the magazine for the previous articles derived from the Digital in 2018 Report by We Are Social and Hootsuite.

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