Saudi Arabia Achieves Near-Universal Internet Access with 99% Penetration in 2023

In an unprecedented leap towards digital inclusivity, Saudi Arabia has reached an astonishing internet penetration rate of 99% in 2023, signaling that virtually every individual in the nation now has access to the internet. This significant milestone places the Kingdom at the forefront of global digitalization efforts, showcasing its commitment to ensuring that its citizens are well-connected and technologically empowered.

The comprehensive “Internet Saudi Arabia” report released by the Communications, Space, and Technology Commission in 2023 presents a compelling narrative of the Kingdom’s digital landscape. It shines a light on the equal embracement of online connectivity by Saudi men and women, illustrating near parity with 99.3% of men and 98.5% of women actively using the internet.

Diving deeper into the digital habits of the Saudi population, the study uncovers that over half (52.3%) of the users find themselves navigating the digital realm for more than seven hours daily. A vast majority access the internet from the comfort of their homes (84.7%), making it the most popular setting for online activities, followed by on the go (72%), and from workplaces (43.4%). Interestingly, internet activity peaks during the evening hours of 9 to 11 PM, especially on Fridays, with December marking the season of highest online engagement.

The supremacy of mobile phones as the primary gateway to the internet is undeniable, with a staggering 98.9% of users favoring them over other devices. Computers and tablets follow suit but at a considerable distance, accounting for 55% and 39% of usage respectively. In the realm of operating systems, Android takes the lead with 61.5% of mobile users, while iOS trails at 38.1%. Among computer users, Windows dominates with a commanding 91.1% preference rate, much ahead of Mac’s 7%.

Examining the propensities of the online populace reveals that government and banking services command significant attention, accessed by 95.5% and 73.6% of internet users respectively. The allure of online shopping cannot be understated either, with a considerable 63.7% indulging in e-commerce activities. Women, in particular, show a higher proclivity towards online shopping at a rate of 74.6%, compared to 55.7% among men.

Crucial to Saudi Arabia’s digital ascension is the robust infrastructure supporting such widespread internet use. The Kingdom not only features among the global top ten for mobile internet speeds but also exhibits a burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem with over 12 million IoT subscriptions. The 2023 data reveals a staggering total internet data traffic of more than 42 million terabytes, translating to an average monthly usage of 44 gigabytes per person.

This monumental achievement in internet penetration is emblematic of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious vision to foster a connected society where digital access is universal, bridging the gap between various demographics and ensuring that every citizen can partake in the digital revolution.

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