Qataris Are the Biggest Internet Users in the Middle East

When it comes to Internet use, Qatar surpasses its regional neighbors as Qataris spend an average of 44.5 hours a week online, according to The Harris Poll and North Western University in Qatar’s latest Media Use in the Middle East survey.

The five-year retrospective study unveils unique social media use patterns in Qatar. 93% of Qataris use WhatsApp, 70% use Instagram, and 64% use Snapchat. The latter two figures are among the highest penetration rates in the region for those two platforms.

As internet access expands, media behaviors and preferences change. Compared to 2015, Qataris are far less willing to pay for news content in 2017 as 71% said they are unwilling to do so, compared with only 24% in 2015. Qataris are least likely to express willingness to pay for news content. According to the survey, trust amongst Qataris in mass media has decreased. Nearly one-third of Qatari nationals said they do not trust mass media, more than double those who expressed this view in 2015.

Declining numbers of Qataris believe people benefit from getting news from foreign news media – a decrease from 56% in 2015 to 33% in 2017.

At the same time, the belief that international news organizations are biased against the Arab World has almost doubled—between 2015 and 2017, from 7% to 13%.

The number of Qataris who think more should be done to preserve cultural traditions dropped from 94% in 2014 to 81% in 2016. Qatari nationals are now less likely to be identified as culturally conservative with a decrease in their numbers from 75% in 2015 to 41% in 2017.