Internet usage worldwide - Statistics & Facts

Across the world, the internet continues to transform how we connect with others, organize the flow of things, and share information. With its growing influence on individual consumers and large economies alike, it has become a crucial part of our day-to-day lives. As of 2017, there was an estimated 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide. This accounts for more than half of the global population, with China having the biggest online population at 829 million users, followed by India at 560 million and the United States at 293 million. Notwithstanding East Asia’s 1 billion internet users, English is the most popular language online, representing 25.2 percent of global internet users. Chinese ranked second with a 19.3 percent share, followed by Spanish at 7.9 percent.

While global internet access is increasing steadily, connection quality is superior in countries with developed infrastructures. As of 2019, Singapore was found the have the fastest average fixed broadband internet speed at 197.50 Mbps, while Norway had an average mobile internet speed of 65 Mbps. Video accounts for more than half of downstream internet traffic volume, with Netflix representing the largest share of global internet bandwidth usage.

In 2018, average daily time spent with the internet per capita amounted to 161 minutes with experts projecting a daily internet usage of 192 minutes in 2021. In 2019, internet users worldwide spent a daily average of 122 minutes on their mobile devices, over three times the global internet consumption via desktop, which amounted to 39 minutes daily. Some of the most popular mobile internet activities are watching movies or videos, email, social networking, reading the news and shopping. WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app in the world with 1.6 billion monthly active users, followed closely by Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion monthly active users. Facebook was found to be the leading social network with 2.4 billion monthly active users.

The internet also continues to change the way products are bought and sold, with e-commerce sales accounting for 10.2 percent of global retail sales. Mobile devices have also significantly gained in e-commerce relevance: in a survey of online users across select countries, it was found that 76 percent of the Indonesian population had purchased something via phone in the past month. Overall, smartphones accounted for 64 percent of global e-commerce traffic and for 46 percent of e-commerce orders.

With the internet’s rapid growth, concerns about privacy, fraud, and hacking have gained significant traction. However, it is not only hacker attacks that online users are concerned about: many internet users were found to be increasingly concerned about their online privacy due to internet companies. As of 2018, Facebook received over 110,000 requests for user information from federal agencies and governments worldwide. The company has also frequently been criticized about its handling and unauthorized sharing of private user data.

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Internet usage worldwide

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