Latest Internet User Statistics for Sri Lanka - 2015

UPDATED: 2016 Statistics are in this latest post. has published the latest figures for internet users worldwide and according to them the latest internet penetration figure for Sri Lanka is 25.8%.

This is a total of 5,689,800 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2014. Mind you, we are in the December of 2015 and these numbers are already one year old. If we apply a modest 20% year over year growth rate (YoY growth rate for Sri Lanka was always higher than 25% in past five years), we can expect this number to stand at 6,827,760 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2015, which will be a penetration of 32% of the total population.

For last three years, I have been publishing an analysis about Sri Lanka internet penetration figures on my blog. Previously, I’ve blogged about when Sri Lanka reached double digit mark in internet penetration, and then I wrote this blog when we reached 3 million internet users in SriLanka. Last year I published a blog when Sri Lanka reached the 4 millioninternet users.

Here's the latest. Sri Lanka has officially crossed 5.5 million internet users as per International Telecommunications Union.

In all my previous analysis, I took and International Telecom Union (ITU) as my source of data. However the credibility of these sources was challenged by some people.
We live in a country where there is no proper institute carrying out research and surveys on internet usage. We don’t have ComScore reports for Sri Lanka, we don’t have eMarketer reports, no BuzzMonitor or anything reliable as an information source. Whatever the local initiatives we have here are far less credible and reliable than ITU and

Central Bank of Sri Lanka reported, that the number of internetconnections in Sri Lanka counts to about 2 million end of 2014. If we apply an average of 3 people using one fixed line connection that will be roughly about 6 Million internet users.

According to Google Adwords Display Ads Planner tool, advertisers can target 5.5 Million to 10 Million unique cookies (a cookie is assumed to represent one person, but there can be duplication).
Facebook reports 3.5 million monthly active Facebook users in Sri Lanka. If apply the global Facebook penetration (to internet users) figure of 50%, we can forecast roughly about 7 Million internet users in Sri Lanka.

If we put all these sources of information on the table and take a look, we are seeing a number in the range of 6.5 Million to 8 Million as the total internet user base in Sri Lanka.

Where there is no absolutely accurate source, people may still argue the credibility of the estimations we come up with available sources of data. But, we cannot wait until all the systems become perfect to keep up with the rest of the world.

Implications for Marketers

In my 2014 post about this topic, I mentioned it’s not going to be easy for any newcomer to compete on Digital Advertising platforms. This will remain to be true for 2016 as well. Already we see the CPM rates are increasing on most digital advertising platforms, even though it’s still not as expensive as TV or Print. Engagement rates and organic reach rates on branded Facebook pages keep dropping; meaning just having a Facebook page for your brand is not going to count as a proper digital advertising tactic.

These changes call for one thing; that is better expertise in digitally lead advertising and marketing strategies and tactics. Your company cannot afford to leave the digital marketing decisions of your brands to a set of interns with IT degrees. It requires better expertise, strategic thinking and common sense. 2016 is going to be a complete red ocean in Digital Marketing job market. Companies will try to headhunt expertise from other companies aggressively, creating more and more demand for Digital Marketers in the job market. As a buddying marketer, are you geared to cater this demand? 

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