Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country with a population of about 15.8 million people, of which 24% live in urban areas. Despite its low level of economic development, Cambodia has witnessed a remarkable growth in internet usage in recent years, reaching 78.8% of the population in 2020. This is higher than the global average of 59.5% and comparable to some of its more developed neighbors such as Thailand (79.3%) and Vietnam (75.5%).
Drivers and Barriers of Internet Adoption in Cambodia
One of the main drivers of internet adoption in Cambodia is the widespread availability and affordability of mobile devices and data plans. According to the latest report by DataReportal, there were 21.9 million mobile connections in Cambodia in January 2022, which is equivalent to 133% of the total population. Moreover, the average cost of 1GB of mobile data was only $0.58, which is one of the lowest in the world. As a result, more and more Cambodians are accessing the internet through their smartphones, especially for social media, messaging, entertainment and e-commerce.
Another driver of internet adoption in Cambodia is the increasing demand for information and communication among Cambodians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to DataReportal, Google was the most visited website in Cambodia in December 2021, followed by Facebook and YouTube. Cambodians also searched for various topics such as news, health, sports and entertainment on Google. Additionally, online learning platforms such as Khan Academy and Coursera saw an increase in traffic from Cambodia during the pandemic.
A third driver of internet adoption in Cambodia is the growing opportunity for digital development and innovation in the country. According to DataReportal, there were 1.5 million e-commerce users in Cambodia in January 2022, spending an average of $32 per user per year on online purchases. The most popular e-commerce platforms in Cambodia were AliExpress, Lazada and Shopee. Furthermore, there were 1.4 million online banking users and 1.3 million mobile wallet users in Cambodia in January 2022, indicating a growing adoption of digital financial services.
However, there are also some barriers that hinder internet adoption in Cambodia. One of them is the digital divide between urban and rural areas, as well as between different socio-economic groups. According to DataReportal, only 52.6% of Cambodians had access to the internet in January 2021, which means that almost half of the population was still offline. Moreover, according to World Bank data, only 11.1% of Cambodians had access to broadband internet in 2019, which limits their ability to use high-speed and high-quality online services.
Another barrier is the low level of digital literacy and skills among Cambodians, especially among older generations, women, and ethnic minorities. According to DataReportal, only 37% of Cambodians aged 15 or above had basic computer skills and only 34% had basic internet skills in 2019. Moreover, according to UNESCO, only 37% of Cambodian adults were literate and only 12% had completed secondary education in 2018. These factors limit their ability to use and benefit from the internet effectively and safely.
State and Trends of Internet Usage in Cambodia
According to DataReportal, there were 13.44 million internet users in Cambodia in January 2022, an increase of 1.3% from the previous year. Of these, 12 million or 89% were active social media users, spending an average of 3 hours and 36 minutes per day on various platforms.
Facebook was the most popular social network in Cambodia, with 11 million users as of January 2022, followed by YouTube with 9.4 million users and Instagram with 3.6 million users.
Other popular platforms included TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
Besides social media, Cambodians also use the internet for various purposes such as messaging, gaming, streaming, learning and working.
According to DataReportal, WhatsApp was the most widely used messaging app in Cambodia, with 7.7 million users as of January 2022, followed by Facebook Messenger with 7.6 million users and Telegram with 4.9 million users.
Online gaming was also popular among Cambodians, with PUBG Mobile being the most downloaded game app in the country in December 2021.
Moreover, Cambodians spent an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes per day watching online videos on platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and iQiyi.
The internet has also become a source of information and education for many Cambodians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to DataReportal, Google was the most visited website in Cambodia in December 2021, followed by Facebook and YouTube.
Cambodians also searched for various topics such as news, health, sports and entertainment on.
Additionally, online learning platforms such as Khan Academy and Coursera saw an increase in traffic from Cambodia during the pandemic.
The internet has also enabled many Cambodians to work remotely or start their own online businesses.
The main purposes and platforms of internet usage in Cambodia
According to the website DataReportal, the website also provides a breakdown of the main purposes and platforms of internet usage in Cambodia, such as:
- Social media: 12.9 million users, with Facebook being the most popular platform.
- E-commerce: $1.3 billion spent online in 2020, with fashion and beauty being the top product category.
- Online gaming: 6.7 million players, with PUBG Mobile being the most played game.
- Online video: 11.9 million viewers, with YouTube being the most visited platform.
- Online music: 10.7 million listeners, with Spotify being the most used service.