Worldwide Adoption of Internet, PCs Continues to Increase

A total of 459 million people have home-based Internet access around the world, according to the Second Quarter 2001 Global Internet Trends Report from Nielsen//NetRatings.

The report, which measures the Internet populations in 30 countries, found the worldwide at-home Internet population increased by 30 million people from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2001. The United States and Canada account for 40 percent of the world’s online population, down from 41 percent in the first quarter of 2001. Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) remained static from the first quarter at 27 percent, followed by Asia-Pacific at 22 percent (up from 20 percent in the first quarter) and Latin America (static at 4 percent).

According to the report, out-of-home Internet access is a particularly important location for Internet use among adults in Latin America. Nearly 9 million people (or 51 percent of the Internet population in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina) use the Internet away from home. In contrast, the proportion of adults who use the Internet from a location other than their home PC in EMEA is 33 percent and in Asia-Pacific is 23 percent.

Both home and work are important sources of Internet access in EMEA, with the proportion of people who have used the Internet at home remaining stable from the first quarter to the second quarter and the proportion of people using the Internet at work seeing a modest rise of about 2 percent.

Although the PC market has hit tough times, the Nielsen//NetRatings’ report also found substantial opportunities in the global PC market.

“In terms of penetration levels, about 65 percent of households with telephones in South Korea, Sweden and Australia have PCs at home,” said Richard Goosey, chief of measurement science and analytics at Nielsen//NetRatings. “It is interesting that a number of well developed European markets are way behind these levels: Germany with 48 percent, U.K. with 46 percent, Italy with 41 percent and France with 34 percent. Because of their relatively large population bases and their high disposable incomes, these markets present a great opportunity for PC manufacturers in the consumer market. Through increased marketing efforts they should be able to lift the penetration rates of these countries up to at least 50 percent, generating about 18 million sales.”

A June 2001 survey by Dataquest found that 65 million U.S. households are actively using the Internet, an increase of 8.4 million users from a November 2000 survey. Sixty-one percent of U.S. households are actively online, and when they get online, they usually get hooked and continue to subscribe to the Internet. Ninety percent of online households said they were likely to continue their Internet subscription — indicating that the Internet is becoming a staple in the household.

“While U.S. businesses and consumers have been cutting back and restructuring their debt to weather the economic slowdown, the U.S. consumer has not yet reduced their seemingly insatiable appetite for Internet access,” said Amanda Sabia, industry analyst for Dataquest’s worldwide Telecommunications and Networking group. “In fact, there is no indication that this demand will abate over the next 12 months. An even higher growth rate for broadband connectivity would be achievable if the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) were deploying DSL more aggressively.”

High-speed Internet access achieved a penetration rate of just less than 25 percent of online households. Cable modem subscribers comprised more than 50 percent of all online high-speed households. Nearly 20 percent of dial-up households said they expect to subscribe to some form of high-speed connectivity by mid-2002.

PC Penetration in Selected Countries
Country Households with
at Least One PC
Percent of Households
With Multiple PCs With One PC
Germany 17,078,000 24 48
U.K. 10,542,000 26 46
South Korea 8,782,00 24 48
Italy 8,080,000 14 41
France 7,496,000 15 34
Netherlands 4,177,000 25 62
Australia 4,481,000 26 65
Brazil 4,334,000 12 27
Spain 3,805,000 12 34
Taiwan 3,762,000 26 59
Sweden 2,601,000 23 65
Argentina 2,086,000 8 35
Belgium/Luxembourg 1,941,000 19 47
Mexico 1,886,000 12 24
India 1,612,000 5 12
Switzerland 1,605,000 20 56
Austria 1,509,000 21 52
Denmark 1,501,000 26 62
Hong Kong 1,218,000 22 59
Norway 1,055,000 23 60
Israel 920,000 13 57
Finland 896,000 20 51
South Africa 783,000 15 25
New Zealand 681,000 22 58
Singapore 596,000 22 64
Ireland 446,000 16 45
Among households with fixed telephone lines
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Related reading