Social media has become very popular in the UAE. And it’s getting harder for people to imagine life without apps like Whatsapp and Instagram. For businesses, these platforms are even more valuable, and they are now a key part of their marketing mix because they help them generate revenue and reach customers worldwide in a cost-effective way.
Here, let’s take a look at the UAE’s social media statistics in 2023 to see where the mainstream social media platforms stand today.
UAE Social Media Statistics 2023 (Key Takeaways)
99% (i.e. 10.07 million) of the UAE’s total population (10.17 million) are internet users.
Social media users account for 98.99% of the total population i.e. 99.7 million people.
Individual and business social media user accounts add up to 10.73 million users.
The average daily time spent on social media is 2 hours and 50 mins.
The three most used messaging apps are WhatsApp, FB messenger and TikTok.
3.95 million UAE citizens say that the main reason they use social media is to stay in touch with family and friends.
Social Media Users in the UAE 2023
UAE mainly consists of a young demographic that actively engages with social media. Since social media platforms allow for two-way communication, even the UAE government uses them to share their policies, initiatives, and accomplishments with the public. Moreover, being a multicultural community, social media also helps people to bridge the cultural divide and create a sense of community.
It looks like social media marketing in Dubai is likely to grow in 2023, since 9.97 million people in the UAE use social media. One of the primary reasons for such high social media usage is the level of internet penetration; 99% of the UAE population has internet access today.
Social Media Time Spent 2023
In 2023, being active on social media means more than just posting your latest photos. It also means monetizing your account, generating income from your followers, and participating in the day-to-day affairs of the country. For passive users, social media allows them to keep up with breaking news and global events.
UAE residents spend an average of 2 hours and 50 minutes a day on social media and 7 hours and 29 minutes a day on the internet.
10 Most Popular Social Media Platforms in the UAE 2023
|Social Media Platforms||Percentage||Users|
|Facebook Messenger||63.20%||5.34 Million|
Different social media platforms are vying for the loyalty of their users by providing engaging, user-friendly interfaces as well as distinctive features and functionality. In 2023 UAE, the following social media platforms have emerged victorious in the popularity race:
WhatsApp ranks first with 6.73 million active users. Despite being more of a messaging platform than a social media, this platform allows for active networking with a lot of people.
Facebook is in the second position with 6.65 million users. One of the oldest of all platforms available, It has a simple interface which helps users to quickly connect with friends and family.
Instagram is in third place with 6.21 million users. Being focused on mobile users, it offers a platform for instant sharing of photos and short videos called reels. Instagram has helped both content creators and companies to generate ample revenue.
Viral challenges and strong influencer marketing have helped TikTok gain the fourth position. It has 5.7 million users in the UAE today.
FB messenger, another messaging app, comes in fifth place with 5.34 million users.
Twitter with 4.65 million users and Linkedin with 4.07 million users come in the sixth and seventh position respectively. The last three positions are occupied by Telegram (3.76 million), Snapchat (3.48 million) and Pinterest (2.7 million).
Note: All of the data presented above is based on the monthly usage of users aged 15 and above.
Social Media User Growth in UAE (2014 – 2023)
UAE has been witnessing tremendous social media user growth for several years. It has impacted the way both businesses and individuals communicate. Over the past decade, the number of social media users has tripled since 2014, when there were only 4.40 million users. In 2020, the users hit a total of 9.73 million people. However, today in 2023, the figure has risen to 10.73 million, which is a growth rate of 10.28% in three years.
Therefore, we can conclude that social media will continue growing and continue affecting the social, economic, and political landscape of the UAE in the years to come.
Popular Messenger Apps in the UAE 2023
Messenger apps allow users to communicate in real-time regardless of location or time. Voice and video calling along with file sharing have made these apps quite popular in the UAE. Most of these apps are also free, which makes them accessible to a large group of people. In 2023, the following are the most popular messenger apps:
|FB Messenger||64.40%||6.42 Million|
Social Media Advertising Audience Profile in the UAE
A key metric that helps businesses with their marketing is the audience profile. If you know who your target audience is, you can create customised marketing activities that help you get a higher return on investment (ROI). Here you can see the combined Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger advertising audience by age and gender.
In the UAE, we can see that the social media advertising profile is dominated by males at 70.20% and females occupy 29.80%.
Based on demographic factors (age and gender), the 25-34 years age group has the highest share with 30.20% males and 12.30% females. The 35-44 years age group comes in second place with 17.90% males and 7.70% females. The 18-24 age group has the third highest share with 12.80% males and 5.40% females.
Advertising Reach of Social Media Platforms in the UAE 2023
As of January 2023, Facebook’s ad reach was 77.8% of internet users.
As of January 2023, Instagram’s ad reach was 52.7 % of internet users.
TikTok’s potential ad reach in the UAE between early 2022 and 2023 climbed by 1.5 million (+22.5%).
Snapchat’s potential ad reach in UAE between early 2022 and 2023 climbed by 750 thousand (+23.1%).
UAE’s Favorite Social Media Platforms in 2023
|Social Media Platforms||Percentage||Users|
|FB Messenger||4.30%||0.36 Million|
According to a survey of 16 to 64-year-old UAE social media users, the favourite social media platforms are:
WhatsApp is the favorite social media platform for 2.27 million users.
1.50 million people prefer Instagram.
Facebook has dropped to third place, with 1.48 million users voting for it.
Reasons for Using Social Media in 2023
Social media has a lot of benefits and that makes it a must-have in today’s world. Whether you use it for work or fun, social media is a powerful tool that helps you stay in touch with people and build communities. Based on a random survey, here are some of the main reasons why people in the UAE use social media in 2023.
3.95 million users claim to use social media to keep in touch with friends and family.
2.85 million users indicate that they use it to fill their spare time. For many people, scrolling through social media posts and exchanging likes and comments is the new form of entertainment.
2.73 million users say they use social media to read news stories and keep up with current events around the world.
Other main reasons cited by UAE users for using social media include finding inspiration for things to do and keeping themselves occupied, watching and following sports, watching live streams, etc.
(You can continue reading about the UAE Social Media Statistics for 2022 in the blog below.)
UAE Social Media Statistics 2022: Infographics
Social Media Users in the UAE 2022
Social Media Users in UAE in 2022 represents the number of people who use either one or more social media platforms. To put things in perspective, the total population and total internet users are also given as background information.
- As of 2022, there are 9.978 million active social media users in the UAE out of a total population of 10.08 million.
- Total internet users amount to 9.979 million.
- Including Businesses, there are 10.68 million active Social Media Users.
- The average growth in active social media users is 8.2%.
Social Media Time Spent 2022
Today in 2022, people have started spending more time on the internet and social media. It could be because of the emergence of new platforms like TikTok and various other factors like YouTube addiction and good quality content. As of the latest reports, people in the UAE spend an average of 1 hour and 12 minute more on the internet these days than in 2021. And there is an increase of 9 minute in daily social media usage in 2022 than in 2021.
- The UAE spend an average of 8 hours 36 minutes per day on the Internet.
- Their daily social media usage is 3 hours 04 minutes in 2022.
Social Media User Growth in UAE (Jan 2014 – Jan 2022)
Users (in Million)
Social media platforms help people in many ways, from reconnecting with old friends to expanding one’s professional network. So it is not surprising that social media usage has increased steadily over the last decade in the UAE and across the world. From January 2014 to 2022, 6.28 million new users have started using social media. And most notable growth happened in 2017. Around 2.9 million new users were added to the user list in just one year and the reason could be TikTok.
- In January 2017, 9.20 million people used social media in the UAE. The figure rose to 9.73 million in 2020 and 10.68 million by the first quarter of 2022.
- There has been a steady growth in the number of social media users over the last decade.
Popular Messenger Apps in the UAE 2022
Users (in Million)
It must be noted that messenger apps are becoming more popular than some social media platforms. For example, WhatsApp has the highest user base in the UAE with 80.20% of the internet users using it. Messenger apps not only help people to chat with their loved ones instantly but also benefit businesses in myriads of ways. Today, most businesses have started using messenger apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to talk directly with their customers.
- WhatsApp users in 2022 UAE have touched the 8.08 million mark.
- Facebook Messenger comes in second with 6.49 million users, representing 64.40% of the internet user population.
- TikTok is the third most popular messenger app in the UAE and has 4.27 million users.
- Other popular messengers app in UAE are Skype, Snapchat, WeChat, and Viber
Social Media Advertising Audience Profile in UAE 2022
The Social Media Advertising Audience Profile 2022 gives you an idea of whether it is still profitable to advertise on the three most dominant social platforms i.e., Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Businesses based in the UAE or hoping to expand into the UAE can use this information to plan their advertising budget for 2022.
- When it comes to the gender ratio, the male social media audience accounts for 68.1%, while the female audience makes up 31.9%
- When we examine the advertising audience by age and gender, we can see that the 25-34 age group has the highest share, with males accounting for 30% and females, 13.8%. The second position is secured by the 35-44 age group, where males make up 16.7% of the population and females, 8%. The age group 18-24 years holds the third-highest percentage, with males accounting for 12.4% and females, 5.7%.
UAE’s Favorite Social Media Platforms in 2022
This is based on a survey conducted in the first quarter of 2022 among UAE internet users between the ages 16 and 64.
- WhatsApp comes first in the survey of the most popular social media platform, with 29.5% votes
- 23.5% of users prefer Facebook to other platforms
- Instagram is the third most popular social media platform. 17.5 percent of users voted for it.
Reasons for Using Social Media in 2022
Social media gives its users access to a world of professional opportunities, as well as a range of entertainment options. Here is a survey conducted among UAE internet users aged 16 to 64 that explains why people log in to various social platforms in 2022.
- 53.4% of internet users say that they use social media to keep in touch with their friends and family.
- 34% of respondents say it is to fill their spare time that they log in to social media.
- 33.7% access social media to read the latest news stories.
Top Social Media Influencers in the UAE 2022
An interesting outcome of the growth of social media platforms has been the rise of the ‘influencers,’ as well as the influence they have had on social and cultural norms. According to a recent study, three out of four people in the UAE follow influencers. Of these, 29% follow health and fitness influencers. So global brands are setting aside a major portion of their marketing budget to partner with influencers. Today, influencers are present in every realm including entertainment, lifestyle, food, fashion and beauty.
Among all the social media platforms, Instagram has emerged as a solid platform for brands. Let us look at the biggest influencers in the UAE:
- Haifa Beseisso – @flywithhaifa : A TV presenter who is passionate about several things including travel, cross-cultural interactions etc.
- Zahra Abdalla – @cookingwithzahra : She juggles many roles including TV chef and Sudanese-Iranian author.
- Wael Abualteen – @waelalteen : His travel feeds are unmissable.
- Fazza – @faz3 : Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai is known for his posts on travel, adventure, falcons etc.
- Milli Midwood – @millimidwood : A digital editor at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia she is also an NMC-licensed lifestyle blogger.
Social Media Trends in the UAE 2022
Social media platforms have evolved into one of the most effective ways for marketers and businesses to build fan bases for their brands. In this regard, several social media trends have risen to prominence in the year 2022. Let’s look at some of these:
A platform for short videos, Tik-Tok deserves more than a passing mention. It has surpassed all expectations in terms of popularity and reach in a short span. With the introduction of the e-commerce feature, the app now also allows its users to shop directly on the platform. This makes Tik-Tok a revolutionary social media app and a must-have in every business’s marketing strategy for 2022.
2. Short Videos
Short videos are the in thing these days, thanks to the growing popularity of Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. Since users now prefer short videos, businesses must start focusing on producing short video content if they want to remain relevant.
3. Organic Engagement
Continuous engagement is required for any brand to maintain a loyal customer base. Using social media platforms with a well-defined strategy and goals can help brands create high-quality content and pique their audience’s interest. They should create a strong bond with their audience by replying to their comments, answering their questions, etc.
4. VR and AR
Since the pandemic, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have made their way into social media platforms. People are now looking for new ways to interact meaningfully with their favorite brands virtually. This is where AR and VR come in handy. Therefore, marketers should definitely think about leveraging these technologies.
(You can continue reading about the UAE Social Media Statistics for 2021 in the blog below.)
UAE Social Media Statistics 2021 : Infographics
Social Media Users in the UAE
According to the latest statistics, a whopping 98.98% of the UAE population remain active on social media. This means that in 2021, an eyeball popping 9.84 million people come online on social media almost every day out of a population of 9.94 million people. In 2021, UAE saw a 1.6% annual growth in internet users. The usage of social media recorded a 0.0% Unchange from the previous year.
Mobile social media usage has been booming in the country. 9.12 million users access social media through their mobile devices. That is 99% of the population of the country. The 2020 usage statistics show that the number of mobile social media users in the country recorded a 10.6% growth with more than 932,000 new users added last year. Falling smartphone costs and easy availability of cutting edge technology are the major reasons for this boom.
Popular Social Media Platforms in the UAE
UAE Facebook & YouTube Users 2021
YouTube is the most popular social media platform in 2021 with 7.89 million users. Almost 79% of the UAE’s population has profiles on Facebook while YouTube’s penetration also stands at 87.40%.
Facebook has found favor among the commercial entities, the political class as well as the masses of the country. The latest statistics for 2021 show that, with 7.85 million users, Facebook is poised to remain a potent force for many years to come. Several popular brands use their Facebook profiles to reach out to fans and provide them unique offers and messages.
Facebook platform with 7.85 million users, faces stiff competition from Instagram. A very large percentage of Instagram’s 6.67 million users are young people, especially teenagers.
A few other social media platforms that are popular in the UAE are Twitter (52% penetration), LinkedIn (51.50% penetration), Pinterest (30.20% penetration) and Tumblr (18.70% penetration).
Popular Messenger Apps in the UAE
Predictably WhatsApp is the most popular chat app in the UAE. WhatsApp has 7.97 million users in the UAE, which is 80.20% of the country’s total population. FB Messenger, with 6.40 million users and 64.40% penetration among the UAE population, is second. Despite frequent disruptions in service, Skype remains third in popularity with 3.34 million users, while Snapchat, which is really popular among teenagers, has 3.32 million users. Fifth in the list of 2020 social media chat apps is WeChat with 2.40 million users.
|Popular Messenger Apps||Active Users|
|FB Messenger||6.40 million|
|Tik Tok||4.21 million|
Social Media Advertising Audience Profile
The Future of Social Media in the UAE
From being a force for connecting people, social media has now evolved into a major advertising medium for brands to connect with their customers. Social groups play a massive role in connecting people with similar interests and they can also serve to motivate people to improve themselves. Facebook communities are also playing increasing roles in ever-transforming global geopolitics.
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Disclaimer: GMI acknowledges that though we try to report accurately, we cannot verify the absolute facts of everything that has been represented on this infographic. The information represented is based on information researched from various sources on the internet. We are not liable for any errors, financial loss, or damages of any kind that may result from the use of, or reliance on, the information herein.
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