The average resident in the UAE spent seven hours and 24 minutes online per day in 2020, it was revealed in a global report.
Data from the World Digital Report 2021 shed light on the digital lifestyle of 43 countries last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and caused a switch to remote working and learning.
The report measured average time spent online by people aged between 16 to 64.
It showed that Filipinos spent the most time online with 11 hours of consumption daily. The Japanese reported spending the least amount of time online, at less than 4.5 hours per day. In the UK, it was six hours and 26 minutes.
Globally, an average person spent seven hours online across all devices – equivalent to two full days of a week.
“If these rates continue throughout 2021, the world’s internet users will spend almost 12 trillion hours online this year, which translates to more than 1.3 billion years of combined human time,” the report said.
The findings showed that an individual in the Emirates spends 40 hours per week browsing the net on their smartphone. Eighty-six per cent of the population plays online games using their device.
“The emergency faced by the world last year has made 2020 a digital year of excellence, as websites, social media pages, portals and smart sites thrived. They were the only means for the world's population to pursue their lives, work and education,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, head of the UAE Digital Government department.
“The communications and information technology sector's overall infrastructure has been a decisive factor in enabling many sectors of society to maintain the continuity of various aspects of everyday life like work, education, and shopping.”
He also said that digital transformation is an “urgent necessity and not a technical luxury”.
UAE residents spent 320 million hours on smartphone apps last year.
According to the report, 99 per cent of the UAE community are active on social media, with 97.6 per cent of the population who own smartphones.
Globally, there are 4.20 billion social media users.
“Despite significant changes in digital behaviours due to Covid-19, people say that they’re spending roughly the same amount of time each day on social media today as they did this time last year,” the report said.
"However, GWI data does show that the daily average has increased by more than half an hour over the past 5 years. The typical user now spends two hours and 25 minutes on social media each day, equating to roughly one full waking day of their life each week."
In UAE, the average internet speed on smartphones was 177.52 megabytes per second, an increase of 104.6 per cent from 2019.
Top five countries that spent most time online across all devices:
Philippines: 10.56 hours
Brazil: 10.08 hours
Colombia: 10.07 hours
South Africa: 10.06 hours
Argentina: 9.39 hours
Top five countries that spent least time online across all devices:
Japan: 4.25 hours
Denmark: 5.16 hours
China: 5.22 hours
Germany: 5.26 hours
Netherlands: 5.28 hours