Demographics & Use

The number of internet users worldwide continues to grow. While internet penetration in the most economically developed countries is already well above 90 percent, there are still billions of people around the world without access. Mobile internet, whether it’s via a high-end smartphone or a cheap feature phone, is transforming the way people go online and what the internet can be used for. Many other factors, like age, gender, education, and income, also have a huge influence on internet access and consumption. Knowing how different demographic groups spend their time online is essential for anyone trying to get a better understanding of how internet users and consumers around the world behave.

Number of internet users worldwide
3.97bn
Average time per day spent using the internet worldwide
170 minutes
Age group with the highest number of internet users worldwide
25-34 years

Market size

How internet access varies by world region
Global internet penetration rate as of January 2021, by region
Further details: Visit original statistic

In 2020, the global internet penetration rate was 59 percent. In some parts of the world, such as Europe and North America where digital infrastructure is more developed, online penetration is much higher. In regions where infrastructure is less developed, like parts of Africa and Southern Asia, penetration is far lower. However, as technology improves, and budget smartphones become more widely available, less developed regions are set to see a huge increase in the number of people going online.

Internet usage worldwide
Internet usage in BRIC
Internet usage in the Middle East and North Africa

Market segments

One third of the world’s internet users are aged 25 to 34
Distribution of internet users worldwide as of 2019, by age group
Further details: Visit original statistic

The Millennial generation makes up roughly a third of the global online adult population. As teenagers come of age, it is likely that the generation to follow Millennials will have just as big a presence in the online world. These younger users have grown up with smart technology and mobile devices, which means being constantly connected is natural to them. Older generations often still see a bigger distinction between online and offline.

Gen Z and the internet in the UK
Internet usage of Millennials in the United States
Global internet usage rate, by gender and market maturity

Industry trends

Time spent online keeps increasing
Average daily time spent per capita with the internet worldwide from 2011 to 2021 (in minutes)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The latest global average for time spent on the internet is close to three hours a day, with no signs that people are going to consume less any time soon. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant people around the world are spending more time than ever on the internet as they go online to keep up to date with news, communicate with friends and family, study, and look for distraction while confined to their homes.

Coronavirus: impact on online usage in the U.S.
Mobile internet usage worldwide
Internet of Things (IoT) in Europe

Industry Definition

Statista offers comprehensive data on global internet usage. The platform provides up-to-date information on the size of the global online population, country-specific online penetration rates, and online user demographics.

In this section, users can find a wide range of statistics covering the latest trends in online user behavior. Survey data on internet usage times are available alongside information on the devices and technologies most commonly used to browse the web. In addition, the database also offers relevant insights into popular online activities and identifies the most visited websites, leading social networks, and mobile apps worldwide.

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