The Global Geography of Internet Addiction

In a new study, Brazilians were the most likely to report spending every waking hour on the web, with Nigerians and South Africans not far behind.

A man poses with an iPhone in the center of Brasilia. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

Thanks to its young population armed with smartphones, Brazil beat nine other Internet-connected countries for its citizens’ frequency of web use, according to a new report from business consultancy A.T. Kearney.

People Who Are Online at Least Once an Hour
A.T. Kearney/Quartz

The study surveyed people who use the Internet at least once a week. The respondents also skewed toward the young, with 64 percent aged 45 or younger. In this survey, 51 percent of Brazilian Internet users said they were online all day long, and 20 percent used the Internet more than 10 times a day.

No wonder: Brazil had the second-highest smartphone penetration in Latin America as of early 2014, beat only by Mexico (which was not included in this survey). Nearly 100 million Brazilians used the Internet in 2013, spurring a growing community of online freedom activists.

The survey, conducted in July, culled responses from about 1,000 respondents in each of the nine countries that use the Internet the most. The 10th country surveyed was South Africa, which falls at number 25 in Internet usage but was included to give more representation to Africa, where Internet use is growing rapidly (though the continent still has low connectivity compared to the rest of the world). Nigerians and South Africans were the second- and third-most-likely to be online at least once every waking hour (measured as at least 10 times a day) or online all day long.

Age and companionship factor heavily into the Internet itch; those who spend the most time online are young (53 percent were between the ages of 16-35) and unmarried (also 53 percent).

Social networking drives Internet use in the top countries. In Brazil, respondents spend 58 percent of their online time on social networking sites—a higher proportion than in any other country.

How People Spend Their Time on the Internet
A.T. Kearney/Quartz