A smorgasbord of data has recently become available from three new studies which analyse and predict current and future Internet use worldwide – eMarketer’s eGlobal Report, the US Commerce Department Study Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide and Greenfield’s Pulsefinder On-Campus Market Study.
eMarketer’s eGlobal Report
– Worldwide Internet use will grow by 35.2 million this year to 130.6 million.
– Worldwide Internet users now exceed those in North America.
– 350 million people will use the Internet by 2003.
– 75%+ of the world’s Internet sites are in English.
– By 2003 Internet users will reach 350 million – a 267% increase from the end of 1998.
– revenues will climb from US$98.4 billion in 1999 to US$1.2 trillion by 2003.
– The United States will earn the majority share of every e-commerce dollar, followed by Germany, then the United Kingdom.
– South America is the biggest growth area for Internet access – rising by 550%.
– Despite these figures, the worldwide online population is still only equal to 2.2% of the total 5.9 billion world population.
US Commerce Department Study
– Over 40% of US household have computers; 25% have Internet connections.
– Internet users are still divided by race and income – the Net is mainly accessed by Caucasians with incomes of US$75,000 and above.
– The demographic gap is widening between white, black and Hispanic users, despite efforts to achieve equality of access.
– Users with incomes of US$75,000 and above are more than 20 times likely to have Internet access than low income families.
– Use by black and Hispanic people doubled when outside access was made available – in schools, libraries etc.
Greenfield Pulsefinder Study
– More college students are going online – 84% will have soon access on campus.
– Most popular sites for students are entertainment and travel.
The compilers of the eMarketer report acknowledged that their figures were not absolutely exact, owing to the use of different sources of data.
One reason for the variance in data was due to conflicting interpretations of the term ‘web user’ – what online frequency is necessary for a person to qualify as a user, and whether a person who only uses e-mail fits into this category.
This resulted in differences in forecasts, such as the Morgan Stanley prediction of 157 million Internet users in 2000 compared with the 327 million anticipated by Internet Industry Almanac.
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