Global Internet Population Moves Away from US

Only one-quarter of the global Internet population will reside in the US by 2005, but only one-third of American online businesses are targeting global markets, according to Jupiter Research.

Jupiter’s Globalization Report predicts that the Asia-Pacific region will outpace the US in less than five years and expect the region to contain as much as one-third of all Internet consumers worldwide in 2005. Other global high-growth regions include Latin America, which is expected to double in size from 5 percent of the world’s online population in 2000, to 8 percent in 2005. Jupiter attributes the growth in online populations outside the US to increased PC penetration and telco infrastructure improvements and reform in those regions.

“The gap in global Web development will ignite a fierce battle for leadership in the international Internet development and service space,” said Preston Dodd, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. “While it is imperative for sites to gain foothold in these markets, they need to avoid a ‘must build’ mentality, and enter these markets through strategic partnerships such as joint ventures and franchises.”


Internet Connections
(percent of households)
Denmark 52.2%
US 52.0%
Singapore 47.4%
Taiwan 41.6%
Korea 34.2%
UK 33.3%
Germany 26.4%
Mexico 25.7%
France 18.9%
China 18.2%
Spain 14.7%
Source: NetValue

Other findings from Jupiter include:

  • The US share of the global Internet population will drop from 36 percent today to approximately 24 percent in 2005.
  • A Jupiter survey of the top 20 Web sites within five categories (shopping, travel, search engine and portals, news, marketing and corporate) reveals that two-thirds of US companies have not yet prepared for a global online marketplace.
  • Although American companies are beginning to venture into smaller, secondary markets, such as France and Italy, expansion into primary global markets, such as Germany and the UK, remains relatively low. US domain registration in Germany and England, traditionally the most popular destination for US businesses, increased very little since last year. Meanwhile, domain registrations by US companies in France, Japan, Austria, Italy, and Brazil, soared during the same period, according to Jupiter analysts.

Jupiter advises US companies align with local companies in each global operation market to gain a better understanding of local customers’ preferences, customs, brands, and fulfillment. Jupiter also advises companies to enter global markets through US and European professional services firms and translation companies.

E-commerce in Asia is still lagging behind the West, but Asians have established several other uses for the Internet. According to NetValue, Korean Internet users spend an average of 18.1 hours on the Web each month. Koreans also use the Web extensively for audio and video, with more than three times as many people engaging in audio and video usage than Americans. Hong Kong leads the way in Instant Messaging, with more than 62 percent of users hooked on IM.

NetValue also found that 55 to 66 percent of Asian Internet users visit e-tail Web sites, lagging behind both the US (73.1 percent) and Europe.

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