Facebook Goes International: Sees Impressive Growth Rates in Africa and Asia

According to data compiled by O’Reilly’s Ben Lorica, Facebook is currently seeing some very impressive growth outside of the United States. In Africa and Asia, for example, Facebook’s active user base grew over 70% in the last 12 weeks, and in Indonesia, Facebook has finally displaced Friendster as the most popular social network.

With regards to the basic demographics on Facebook, women still represent the majority of users (51% vs. 45%), and while younger users still represent the majority of active users on the service, users over 55 are driving most of Facebook’s current growth.

Except for the Middle East, Women Rule on Facebook

The fact that women are clearly in the majority on Facebook is, of course, not exactly a new trend.

It is interesting to note, however, that the only region where men are in the majority on Facebook is the Middle East and Northern Africa, where men make up 56% of Facebook’s user base and women only represent 35% of all users. Interestingly, though, this region also features the largest number of users who decline to disclose their gender.

Focus on Europe

In some European countries like Germany, where Facebook is only the fourth most popular social network, Facebook is still struggling to gain significant market share, as its slow adoption of local translations allowed other social networks like StudiVZ or XING to become very popular before Facebook was able to make a significant push into these countries. Today, Belgium has more active Facebook users than Germany. According to O’Reilly, however, Facebook’s active user base in Germany grew 60% over the last four months.

According to Katrin Mathis, who has been studying the advance of Facebook in Europe, only about 3% of the total population of Germany can be found on Facebook right now, while 30% of all the British and 38% of all the Danes can be found on the social networking site.

Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic (191%), Bulgaria (105%), or Macedonia (95%) are currently seeing some of the most impressive growth rates in active Facebook users in Europe.

Growth in the Rest of the World

Looking at the world’s major regions, O’Reilly found that Facebook continues to grow at about 30% in the last 12 weeks. In Asia and Africa, however, Facebook is growing much faster, with growth rates of 73.7% and 86.9% respectively. In Indonesia alone, where Facebook just eclipsed Friendster as the leading social network, Facebook saw the number of its active users grow by almost 240% in the last 12 weeks.

For more demographic data about Facebook, have a look at the embedded presentation from O’Reilly below. Among other things, this presentation includes interesting data for South America and Africa.

Facebook Demographic TrendsView more presentations from oreillymedia.

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