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Number of internet users worldwide from 2005 to 2016 (in millions)

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Number of users in millions
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About This Statistic

This statistic gives information on the total number of internet users worldwide from 2005 to 2016. As of the most recent reported period, the number of internet users worldwide was 3.5 billion, up from 2.21 billion in the previous year.


Easier access to computers, the modernization of countries around the world and an increased utilization of smartphones has given people the opportunity to use the internet more frequently and with more convenience. However, internet penetration often pertains to the current state of development regarding communications networks. As of January 2016, there were approximately 680 million total internet users in China and 282 million total internet users in the United States. However, broadband internet usage is not equally present in many countries and due to infrastructure reasons, developing online markets rely strongly on mobile connections. As of 2015, 52.7 percent of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile device. Subsequently, global mobile data traffic is set to surpass 30.6 exabytes per month in 2020, up from 3.7 exabytes per month as of 2015.

Social networking is one of the most popular online activities and Facebook is the most popular online network based on active usage. As of the fourth quarter of 2015, there were a total of roughly 1.59 billion monthly active Facebook users, accounting for almost half of internet users worldwide. Connecting with family and friends, expressing opinions, entertainment and online shopping are amongst the most popular reasons for internet usage. The most active online users were Millennials aged between 18 and 32 years with an average of 7.43 hours online every day.

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