Portugal: the digital overview


Throughout the years, we’ve been watching the constant growth of the digital world. In Portugal, this trend is not an exception. Therefore, how is Portugal’s digital overview?

The companies We Are Social and Hootsuite develop, every year, numerous reports about world’s and countries’ digital overviews, including Portugal’s, where are shown some data and some trends about the use of Internet, social media, mobile, ecommerce and digital marketing.

So, we went to find out about our country’s digital overview. At the time of the report, Portugal had a total of 10,18 million citizens, with 66,6% of them living on urban areas and 33,3% on rural areas. Let’s now take a look at the different themes, individually:


When talking about Internet’s use, we can see that there was a total of 8,58 million Internet users (which equates to 84,2% of the population), representing an increase of 0,7%, when compared to 2020. Daily, the average time spent by these users on the internet is of 7 hours and 20 minutes.

On this internet’s use, we can focus on the researches that were made. The five most searched sites were Google.com, Youtube.com, Facebook.com, Google.pt and Sapo.pt, while, when talking about the searched themes, the podium belongs to “meteorology”, “Facebook”, the “translator”, the “weather” e “Google”.

To these online researches, 99% of the people used a conventional search engine, followed by image recognition tools (46,2%), social media, which continue being more used when searching for brands (43%), and voice commands (21,5%).

Despite Internet being widespread, there still are many preoccupations related to privacy and wellbeing, which have been highlighted throughout the years: 75,7% of the internet users are worried about what is fake (or not) on the internet – as for example fake news, which have been undermining people’s trust in the internet as a source of information; more than half of the users (53,9%) are worried about the use of their data by companies, a subject that has been discussed over the years.

Besides, 19,1% of the users decided to track their time online, in order to limit their spent time on apps, which shows a bigger consciousness and worry when talking about the spent time on mobile applications.


From the 10,18 millions of Portugal’s citizens, 7,8 millions of them use social media (76,6%), with each one of them having an average of 8,7 accounts on social media (even though this number is counting with social media used on work context), in which they spend an average of 2 hours and 18 minutes.

The most used platforms were YouTube (92,1% of the users have an account on this platform), Facebook (88,2%), WhatsApp (82,5%), Facebook Messenger (79,4%) and Instagram (75,3%), with the other social media being used by less than half of the users.

And what can we highlight from each social media? Let’s take each one of them in attention:

1 – On Facebook, it is possible to reach, through ads, a total of 6,3 million users, which represents 69,5% of the population with more than 13 years old.

The average engagement rate on Facebook is of 0,10%. The more engaged publications are the ones that count with videos (0,20%), followed by photo posts (0,13%), status posts (0,09%) and link posts (0,05%).

When talking about the users who are on the social media, despite the small difference, it is possible to find more women (52,4%) than men (47,6%). Also, women are the ones who have a more frequent activity on the platform: they not only like more pages, but also tend to comment and share more, as also tend to click more on adverts.

2 – On YouTube it is possible to reach through adverts a total of 7,02 million users, which represents 71,2% of the population with more than 18 years old in Portugal. There are almost as many women (49,7%), as men (50,3%).

3 – On Instagram, there are 4,8 million users that can be reached, the equivalent to 53% of the total population from Portugal with more than 13 years old. There are more women (54,2%) than men (45,8%).

4 – LinkedIn counts with a total of 3,50 million users, which represents around 40,9% of the population with more than 18 years old. There are more male users (51,5%) than female users (48,5%).

5 – Snapchat and Twitter count, each one of them, with a total of 1,10 million users, the equivalent to 12,1% of the population. Here, we can see that, while on Snapchat the women’s presence (66,7%) is largely bigger than the men’s presence (32,6%), on Twitter the trend is opposite: there are more men (67,2%) than women (32,8%).

6 – Finally, on Pinterest we can find 1,63 million users (around 19% of the population). 80,6% of the users are women and 14,9% are men.

We can verify then that the biggest presence of users is on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, that always count with the equivalent of more than half of the Portuguese population. We also can see that, despite the small differences, the use of these social media is equally from both men and women. On Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest, that count with less users, we can see that the difference between men’s and women’s use is considerable.


When talking about the use of mobile phones, we can find out that there are 15,8 millions of connections (which means SIM cards), the equivalent to 155,1% of the Portuguese population.

When talking about the operational systems, 74% (less 4,9% when compared to 2020) of the mobile users have Android, 25,7% (more 17% than in 2020) have Apple, followed by 0,1% of Samsung (more 40%) and “others”, with 0,3% (more 19%).

And what about mobile applications? The most used categories of mobile applications were the chat applications (95,8% of the mobile users use these apps), social media apps (96,2%), apps of entertainment and video (86,4%), maps applications (82,2%) and shopping applications (66,7%).


Ecommerce has been growing up over the years and we cannot ignore the pandemic and the lockdown, which have had an impact on this growth.

We can see that, in Portugal, 5,11 million of citizens have bought some goods online, which represents an increase of 19,5% when compared to 2020.

Besides, we can highlight other numbers: 89,5% of internet users with ages between 16 and 64 years old have searched by some product or some service to buy; 80,8% of the users have visited an online store or an online site; 66,7% of them used shopping applications on a mobile phone or in a tablet; and 69,1% of the users bought some product online.

The users who have bought more online were the ones with ages between 25 and 35 years old (75,4% of the users bought something online), followed by users with ages between 35 and 44 years old (71,5%), users with between 45 and 54 years old (70,6%). Still with more than half of them buying online, but with a smaller prominence, there are the younger users with ages between 16 and 24 years old (62,3%) and the users with a more advanced age, with between 55 and 64 years old (61,8%).

When talking about spending on online shopping, the travel, mobility and accommodation category is still the one with higher spent, but it was Also the one which had a bigger break, of 48,9% (we can justify this break with the pandemic). This category is followed by fashion and beauty (with an increase of 21,1%), and the category of electronics and physical media (with a 15,6% of increase).


When talking about digital marketing, let’s take an attention on the ways of finding out new brands, the ways of searching for them, and the digital adverts.

When talking about discovering new brands, the “word of mouth” recommendations still exist (they represent 39,3% of the new discoveries), but they’re followed by adverts on television (38,9%), search engines (38,8%), adverts on social media (33,8%), and in-store displays or promotions (31,2%).

On the other hand, when talking about searching for brands, we can highlight the search engines (64,6%), followed by social media (43%), price comparison websites (38,7%), product and brand websites (35,9%) and consumer reviews (22,6%).

In order to reach more people digitally, the spent on digital adverts have increased 1,3%. We can highlight the digital ad search, that counts with an increase of 3,6%, and social media adverts, with an increased investment of 5%.

The report about the digital overview is done annually, which means it is possible to see the differences that exist from year to year on the digital world.

We can see that the number of internet users still is growing up, as much as the time spent online. However, there still are many preoccupations that it seems that have arrived to stay.

On the other hand, when talking about social media, still increasing, we can use the numbers we have when putting an advert online, once they give us an idea of the social media where we can have a higher reach.

With a still big use of mobile phone and an increasing use of ecommerce, we can see that this year the pandemic has left its marks on them.

Finally, when looking to the digital marketing, it is possible to see where we can give to know our brands, and where is existing already a bigger investment, with highlights to social media.

This was the digital overview of our country on January of 2021. Are these trends going to change? Or are they going to stay the same? Is the pandemic going to keep leaving its mark on the digital world? In 2022 we will find out.

By Sofia Neves, press officer in Media em Movimento