You Are Here: Home World Overview World Usage Patterns & Demographics

World Usage Patterns & Demographics

Article Index
World Usage Patterns & Demographics
Search Engines and Searches
e-Mail Services and Marketing
Digital Media
Smart TV
All Pages
E-mail Print PDF


There were an estimated 2,405,510,175 internet users worldwide for mid-year 2012 (June 30, 2012), according to Internet World Stats. This represented about 34.3% of the population worldwide and a 566.4% growth compared to 2000.

Internet users worldwide by regions, mid-year 2012 (June 30, 2012):
WORLDWIDE: 2,405,510,175
- Asia: 1,076,681,059 (44.8% of internet users worldwide)
- Europe: 518,512,109 (21.5%)
- North America: 273,785,413 (11.4%)
- Latin America / Caribbean: 254,915,884 (10.6%)
- Africa: 167,335,676 (7.0%)
- Middle East: 90,000,455 (3.7%)
- Oceania / Australia: 24,279,579 (1.0%)  

(Internet World Stats, October 2012)
There were 2.4 billion internet users (2,405,510,175) worldwide in the first quarter of 2012, according to Internet World Stats data updated June 30, 2012. China was the largest countries in terms of internet users with over 538 million users.

Top 20 internet countries worldwide at mid-year 2012:
1. China: 538.0 million
2. US: 245.2 million
3. India: 137.0 million
4. Japan: 101.2 million
5. Brazil: 87.3 million
6. Russia: 68.0 million
7. Germany: 67.5 million
8. Indonesia: 55.0 million
9. UK: 52.7 million
10. France: 52.3 million
11. Nigeria: 48.4 million
12. Mexico: 42.0 million
13. Iran: 42.0 million
14. Korea: 40.3 million
15. Turkey: 36.5 million
16. Italy: 35.8 million
17. Philippines: 33.6 million
18. Spain: 31.6 million
19. Vietnam: 31.0 million
20. Egypt: 29.8 million

(Internet World Stats, October 2012)

The Middle East and North African countries have relatively low overall internet penetration. However, the young culture, as well as the experience and coordination of 2011's Arab Spring events, are bringing many more online.

Google and Booz & Co. surveyed internet users between the ages of 15 and 35 (an age range believed to make up 40% of the population) in Saudia Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Algeria and Lebanon. The results showed a digitally engaged population with room to bring technology further into their lives and society.

Overall, 83% of these internet users reported using the internet daily. And when users went online, they stuck around, with 99% of daily users spending over 30 minutes online, well above the 82% who spent over 30 minutes watching TV. More than four in 10 users spent at least five hours per day on the internet.

Home was the primary access point for respondents, with North Africa posting the highest percentage of people accessing from a home base (83%). By comparison, in the richer Gulf countries, seven out of 10 accessed from home, while nearly as many accessed on the go. The more expensive and newer smartphone devices are making big strides in the oil-rich region. Most in the Middle East and North Africa already own standard mobile phones.

Internet cafes remain relevant in North Africa primarily, used for access by just under two out of 10 respondents. This is a common trend in the developing world, where people first go online at these locations before access is supplanted by home computers and mobile devices. In Lebanon and Jordan, the Levant countries, public spaces saw the greatest web use of all regions, suggesting that Wi-Fi hotspots have caught on here.

Internet users in Middle East and North Africa, by access location, July 2012 (% of respondents):
- At home: 70% in Gulf Cooperation Council* / 75% in the Levant** / 83% in North Africa***
- On the move: 65% / 53% / 28%
- Public spaces: 20% / 22% / 13%
- Internet cafes: 9% / 9% / 17%

* Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
** Levant: Lebanon and Jordan.
*** North Africa: Egypt and Algeria.

Tablets have also made major advances among internet users in the Gulf especially; penetration of these devices among the connected youth (36%) was more than half of smartphone ownership (61%).As elsewhere, watching short videos online is one of the most popular daily activities among internet users in each country, according to the survey. About four in 10 users throughout the Middle East and North Africa also reported paying to download media at least once a week.

And social networking was, of course, quite popular among the young respondents, with 61% spending more than two hours per day on social sites.

In the developing region, where the internet is often associated with a more open culture, there are still many areas where a technology upgrade is seen as potentially beneficial. Nearly half of respondents believed healthcare was in need of technology improvement, and over four out of 10 cited education.

Internet access in the Middle East and Africa will continue expanding at the fastest pace worldwide, according to eMarketer estimates. In these countries, the energy and engagement of the younger generations will drive technological change throughout the region.  (eMarketer, January 2013)

The study found that, among all BRIC countries, India had the sharpest growth in unique website visitors between 2011 and 2012, at 41%, more than double the growth rate in second-place Russia. And India's online growth still has some distance to go before it hits a ceiling, since most of its online category stats underindex when compared to global averages.

Internet users in BRIC, July 2012:
- China: 336.0 million (+5% compared to July 2011)
- India: 62.6 million (+41%)
- Russia: 59.0 million (+20%)
- Brazil: 52.0 million (+6%)

(eMarketer, September 2012)

Venezuela posted the highest growth in internet users worldwide between April 2011 and April 2012, at 62%, according to comScore.

Leading countries worldwide, ranked by growth in internet users, April 2012 (% change vs. Prior year):
- Venezuela: 62%
- India: 34%
- Indonesia: 29%
- Italy: 24%
- Mexico: 22%
- Russia: 19%
- Ireland: 16%
- Singapore: 14%
- Colombia: 13%
- Philippines: 11%
- Malaysia: 9%

(eMarketer, July 2012)

The global market for information and communications technology (ICT) is expected to grow by 1.9% to 2.3 trillion euros in 2010, according to the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO). In the crisis year of 2009, sales fell by as much as 1.6%.

EITO indicates that the global high-tech markets are recovering appreciably from the economic crisis and that signs are once again pointing toward growth.  In the industrial countries, increasingly companies are investing again in modern IT systems. The drivers of growth are the emerging countries of China, India and Brazil, whose high-tech markets have been able to make strong gains in spite of the crisis.

In 2010, the emerging countries will provide additional impetus to the markets and if the economic recovery continues, the global ICT market will grow by 3.7% to 2.4 trillion euros in 2011, according to EITO.

The economic crisis had only a slight impact on the global telecommunications market. After a slight dip of 0.5% last year, 2010 sales will grow by 2.9% to 1.4 trillion euros, according to EITO's forecast. The telecommunications market is marked by technological and structural changes, according to EITO. As a result, people are making fewer phone calls on the fixed network and, instead, are using mobile phones or internet telephony more often. In the meantime, 18% of all households in the US no longer use the fixed network, preferring to use their mobile phones exclusively. In Japan, it is 20% and in Italy it is even 26% of households. Accordingly, sales of fixed network voice services have been declining for years. In 2010, they will fall worldwide by 4.6%. On the other hand, the mobile market is growing slightly, up 1.4% to 417 billion euros. The strongest growth is posted by data services, both fixed network as well as mobile. Sales of internet connections and data services on a fixed network will grow in 2010 by 7% to 198 billion euros, according to EITO data. Mobile data services are posting even stronger growth: up 16% to 141.5 billion euros. Mobile internet is conquering the mass market, according to EITO.

With the exception of Russia, the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were hit less severely by the global economic and financial crisis and are posting the strongest growth. After posting 10%, the Chinese IT market will gain 11%, up to 33.6 billion euros, in 2010. In India, IT sales will also grow by 11%, to 14 billion euros. By comparison, in the EU, the market will grow in 2010 by only 0.2%, to 303 billion euros. In the US, sales in IT hardware, software and IT services will drop slightly in 2010, down 0.8% to 304 billion euros.

A similar picture emerges in the telecommunications market. The growth markets are in the BRIC countries. In 2010, the Chinese telecom market will grow by 8% to 126 billion euros, while the Indian market will grow by 15% to 40.5 billion euros. In India only a third of the population uses a mobile phone; in China, about half. In Germany for example, it is roughly 80%. Powered by the success of smartphones and mobile internet services, the telecom market in the US will grow by 1.6% to 324 billion euros. In the EU, the plus is only 0.1% to 346 billion euros. (EITO, March 2010)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:44