he majority of Qatar’s Internet usage is for connecting with friends via e-mail or social networking, with 94% of respondents having a Facebook profile – which 15% claim to be constantly connected to.
A survey to investigate Internet usage in the Middle East by popular job site Bayt.com and research and consulting organisation YouGov has also showed that 72% of Qatar respondents spend three hours or more online every day.
Every day 40% of Qatar-based respondents claim to connect with friends via e-mail, and 44% of the same demographic connect with friends through social networking sites.
Watching video clips and listening to music are also popular daily online activities and a very significant proportion of daily usage comes from online job hunting, with 43% of Qatar respondents using the Internet to seek employment.
The least popular daily online activities, in terms of the percentage of Qatar survey responses who have never accessed the facility, are downloading podcasts (42%); playing online games (41%); uploading video clips to video sharing websites (39%); participating in online courses (37%); uploading photos to a photo sharing website (28%).
Bayt.com’s vice president sales, Amer Zureikat, observed that there is a definite trend across the survey region that leans towards using the Internet for social purposes as well as for job hunting and career related purposes.
“This is very encouraging data and further bolsters Bayt.com’s foray into the career-centric social arena with our proprietary People platform which allows the region’s professionals to build an attractive public profile based on their completed CV and bolster that with badges and referrals,” he said.
Results asking survey-takers to state all social networks to which they belong proved that Facebook is the site of choice; out of all of Qatar’s respondents, only 6% claimed to not have a Facebook profile.
‘Other’ social networking sites (excluding Netlog (10%) and Hi5 (14%)) are ranked second with 40%; Twitter earned 28%, followed closely by LinkedIn (27%). Only 5% claimed to have no social networking profiles at all.
Facebook usage is especially high, with 69% logging onto the site on a daily basis, whereas only 25% visit Twitter every day. The majority of Qatar’s users (a combined figure of 54%) will spend between 30 minutes – three hours a day on Facebook, with another 15% claiming to be signed into their account most times of the day. Twitter, on the other hand, has 39% of users who log in for less than 30 minutes a day, and 39% who log in for between 30 minutes – one hour.
In Qatar, 48% of survey-takers claim to use social networking websites at their place of work; the main reason for not accessing such sites while in the office are due to the employee not having time (61%), rather than sites being blocked (17%).
Statistics across the region tend towards a lack in online purchases; Qatar is no exception. There is a slight tendency for more people to order airline tickets online more than anything else.
In terms of the amount of time spent online every day, 28% of Qatar respondents are online for less than two hours a day, while 35% use the Internet for between three to four hours daily and 22% claim to surf the web for more than six hours every day. When it comes to online access, Google Chrome is Qatar’s browser of choice, opted for by 39% of respondents. Google reigns as the search engine of choice, with 98% preferring to use it over its peers.
Yahoo! is the most popular for e-mail usage with 67%, followed by Gmail (65%) and Hotmail (48%). As far as chat programmes are concerned, Skype is the most popular platform in Qatar, with 64% of respondents using it; second is Yahoo! Messenger with 54%, followed by Google talk! at 38%.
In general, across all surveyed regions the method of choice for connecting to the Internet is via personal computer (desktop, laptop and netbook), by a majority of 96%.
Personal computer ownership in Qatar is 70%, with 71% of respondents having fixed line broadband at home, and 80% claiming to have WiFi access.
The biggest concern to do with the Internet put forward across the region is inappropriate content being easily accessible to children and youths.
In Qatar, this is followed by (in order of biggest – lowest concern) Internet addiction, the Internet keeping people away from an active lifestyle, spam, social interaction becoming limited away from the internet, and lack of privacy.
Data for the Bayt.com Internet Usage in the Middle East survey was collected online from August 1 - 24, 2011, with 8,981 respondents (predominantly male – 82% as opposed to 18% women) aged 18+, representing Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, KSA, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE.
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