Asian markets are among the fastest growing markets in the world in terms of number of households connected to the Internet, according to NetValue, while the United States has experienced negative growth.
NetValue’s examination of 10 Internet markets in the first half of 2001 found that Hong Kong leads the list with 27.9 percent growth from January to June 2001. Spain is the fastest growing European market in the survey, with the percentage of households online increasing by 25.3 percent, while Korea ranks third with 15 percent. Internet growth in the United States has been relatively constant over the first half of 2001, with NetValue reporting a 0.2 percent drop in the number of U.S. households online.
Despite the stagnant growth level, NetValue’s research reaffirmed the position of the United States as the world’s largest Internet market. In June 2001, the United States had more than 83 million users, more than all of the other countries in the survey put together. Running a distant second was Germany with 14.6 million users. Internet users in Singapore spend the most time online per session at 24 minutes. The United States, despite reports that the world’s most mature Internet market is getting sick of the Internet, spends 23.6 minutes per session.
NetValue also examined which country’s Internet users seem most interested in buying goods and services over the Internet. Korea had the highest proportion of visitors to e-commerce Web sites in June 2001, with 75.7 percent visiting a site that sells. Only 25.7 percent of those e-commerce visitors engaged in a secure connection that would allow them to transmit the information necessary to complete an online purchase (e.g., credit card information). Visitors to e-commerce sites in Britain report the highest incidence of engaging in a secure connection among the 10 countries examined at 44.1 percent, followed closely by Singapore (40.9 percent) and Hong Kong (39.4 percent).
The gender of the Web is still decidedly male, but the gap is closing. While recent research on the gender of the Internet from Nielsen//NetRatings conflicts with NetValue in many ways, both companies report that Germany is one of Europe’s most male-dominated Internet markets. Nielsen//NetRatings had found that the United States and Canada both had more female Internet users than male users, but NetValue contends that Korea (NetValue didn’t track Canada) was closest to gender parity at 52.5 percent men, 47.5 percent women.