Internet usage in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

As of 2016, there were around 45 million internet users in South Korea. With an online penetration of about 90 percent, South Korea ranks as one of the most connected online markets. The country boasts the highest average internet connection speed; while South Korean had an average connection of 27 Mbps, the global average was at 7 Mbps. South Korea’s highly developed digital infrastructure is due to government-established policies and programs which enabled the nation-wide adoption of broadband internet as the subsequent development of wireless broadband technologies.

Since the country is home to the leading mobile vendor Samsung, it is no surprise that South Korea currently has a mobile phone internet usage rate of 81.6 percent as of 2016. This figure is set to increase to 88 percent by 2021. The South Korean mobile audience is highly engaged with mobile content, particularly video content. About 31 percent of South Korean smartphone users watch mobile video on a daily basis, and 25 percent of them watch mobile videos weekly. Tablet users in South Korea often use their devices to watch video as well. As of 2016, 22 percent of tablet users watched mobile video on a daily basis and 26 percent watched it weekly.

There were about 27.5 million social network users in South Korea as of 2016. Projections show this figure is set to slightly increase in the coming years, reaching a total of 31.8 million by 2021. South Korea has the highest active social media penetration among Asian countries – 82 percent as of 2016. Profile-based social networking services are the most popular types of social media in South Korea. Widely-used social networks include KakaoTalk, Facebook, Kakaostory, Twitter, LINE and Instagram. KakaoTalk has the highest daily reach among them. About 73 percent of internet users in South Korea accessed KakaoTalk on a daily basis. Kakao is one of the leading online companies in the country, and the name behind KakaoTalk.

The number of digital buyers in South Korea is forecast to slightly increase from 25 million in 2015 to nearly 30 million by 2018. This means that, by 2018, 68.6 percent of the population in South Korea will be digital buyers. E-commerce revenue is also expected to increase in the coming years. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to surpass 32 billion U.S. dollars by 2021, up from around 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Some of the most popular online shopping properties in South Korea include 11st, Gmarket, Auction and Interpark.

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