Facebook user growth in Western markets may be tailing off, but that is not the case for Asia-Pacific. In 2018, Facebook’s audience in the region will increase 13.4%—nearly double the rate of worldwide gains—reaching 663.0 million users. India will spearhead this jump, climbing 17.3% and accounting for nearly one-third of users in the region.
Facebook’s growth in India is a result of an expansion of more affordable mobile services. In 2016, 4G LTE mobile internet use exploded in the country after the arrival of mobile operator Reliance Jio and its low-priced data plans. Competitors like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone lowered data costs to stay competitive, which motivated consumers to sign up. Between 2016 and 2018, the percentage of mobile phone internet users grew from 24.0% to 32.3% of the population.
With growing mobile uptake, many of these new internet users also signed up for Facebook to connect with friends and family. New phones coming with Facebook Lite preinstalled was a boon as well. During the same two-year period, Facebook’s share of the population rose from 11.4% to 16.7%. By 2022, continued adoption of mobile internet will further Facebook’s reach to 25.0% of India’s population.