Monday, March 9, 2009

Two million Facebook users in Sweden - here's the demographics

Sweden now has over two million Facebook users. That's a lot.

(Update December 2009 - now more than three million users, read more here)

It took Sweden around 16 months to go from one million users to two million users. This means that the overall penetration of Facebook currently is 22% in Sweden.
As you can see from the chart below the growth rate started to increase in August last year, and doesn't seem to decline yet.

Just a week before Sweden broke the one million mark that I looked into the demographics of the Swedish Facebook users. So - let's have another look at the demographics and see what have changed.

Age of Swedish facebook users
This is the age distribution from Facebook:

If you combine this with the population in Sweden for each age group you get a similiar curve indicating the relative number of users within each age span:

You can notice a very high penetration (over 80%) among the population between 19 and 24.

From the chart below you can see that the media age is around 25 years, you find the first 25% of the users below 20 years of age and 75% of the users below 32 years of age:

Gender of Swedish Facebook users
When we look at the gender distribution we see that there is more women than men on Facebook in Sweden:

The female users are in majority across all age groups:

Also, when you compare the similiar graph from 2007 you notice that the "undefined" gender group has gone down. I believe Facebook no longer allow the users not to state gender?

And while we are comparing with the numbers from 2007, let's have a look at the penetration per age group side by side:

You can note that the population age 35 and over still has room for growth, but percentage wise has grown more than the 20-24 age group since 2007.

That's enough of graphs for now. Let's wait for the 3 millionth user in Sweden for some more graphs...

As a last note - when Facebook hit one million users in Sweden I noted that Facebook was the second most visited site in Sweden according to Alexa. Now, when the number of Swedish users has doubled the same Alexa lookup only put Facebook as number 5:

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Blogger Dan said...

Hi Johan,

Thanks for an interesting post. Two questions:

1. What's the definition of a "user" in these stats? Anyone with a registered account?

2. How reliable is the Alexa data? I.e do you have any info on the demographics of Swedish web users who have installed the Alexa toolbar?

Thanks again!

March 10, 2009 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...

Hi Dan,

1. The definition of "user"...
I use the numbers from the ad utility in Facebook, ie how many users that are targeted given a number of parameters. Of course teh big question is what these numbers are based upon.
I do not have a clear definition from Facebook on this, but
a) The country "tagging" is stated to be based on IP address (in earlier posts I speculated that it was based on your profile information, which seems to be wrong)
b) If the numbers are active users or not is up for speculation. However, in other places Facebook seems to define "active user" as people who have logged in the last month. My personal bet is still that this definition applies to the numbers

2) Good point with the reliability of the Alexa numbers. I included that part more as a comment, and since Alexa often pops up when you discuss the popularity of web sites. Do you know any other good source for this, especially related to Sweden?

March 11, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for clarifying the matter. Unfortunately I don't have any good sources for tracking the popularity of Swedish web sites. It's a constant problem. I checked Google Ad Planner and it gives an even higher number for Facebook: 2,4M unique visitors in the last 30 days.

Thanks again!

March 12, 2009 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...

At least the Google numbers are on pair...

My guess is that the Google numbers are slightly higher because:
- Google track per IP-address, so if you go to FB in from several computers you will be registered multiple times.
- The Google numbers might also include visits from people that doesn't have a FB account, ie who goes to teh sign up page and leaves.

March 12, 2009 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very interesting. I cam across your article as I was researching Sweden as my country of choice to open up a Hooters Restaurant. Sweden is on the company's "hot" franchise list on its website I am writing a paper for graduate school in the US on why Hooters would be successful in Sweden, so if you have any ideas please email me at

Thanks and great research,


March 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, regarding the reliability of Alexa stats, as well as Alexa's top 100 by country feature, there is also the Google Trends for websites where you can display the relative popularity of up to 5 different websites, (and this can be for a single country).

Those countries where Hitwise operate also have that data, e.g. here's UK:

Checking all three of these gives me confidence that FaceBook is the number one site in my country. I've also done a demographics study:

October 29, 2009 at 12:12 AM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...

Thanks for the tip of Alexa alternatives, Stuart.

Read your post about FB and NZ. Interesting, but you might want to also cover the "unspecified" gender? (Comment also made at your post)

October 29, 2009 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am curious how you came across this Facebook statistics. I am righting my thesis on this and would like to compare swedish user statistics with U.K users and germans. Were can I get info on this?

November 5, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Johan Myrberger said...


drop me a mail at johan (-at-) and I'll give you some hints, and can also provide historical numbers if needed.

November 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

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