A pair of research reports by International Data Corp. (IDC) and the Computer Industry Almanac (CIA) differ on whether Europe or North America will be the leading market for Internet users when 2005 rolls around, but they do agree on one thing: Earth will be home to more than 500 million Internet users next century.
According to IDC, the online population of Europe will overtake that of the US for the first time in 2003. By 2003, Europe will have 170 million Internet users, up from a current estimate of 44 million.
Europe currently accounts for six of the world’s top 10 Internet economies and this is shortly to increase to seven. According to IDC, these economies account for just 10 percent of the global Internet economy.
IDC found that in 14 nations, 40 percent of the population will be online by 2003, and together they will account for 50 percent of the world’s economy. In the US alone, the Internet will account for 7 percent of the gross domestic product by 2003. Sixty-two percent of US adults will have Internet access by that time.
The CIA found that North America will remain the leading region for Internet users until at least 2005. It will grow from about 83 million Internet users at the end of 1998 to nearly 230 million by year-end 2005.
Western Europe is growing faster than North America and will be a close second by 2005, with more than 202 million Internet users, according to the Computer Industry Almanac The Asia-Pacific region is growing even faster and will have more than 170 million Internet users in 2005.
The CIA defines Internet users as adults with weekly usage in businesses and homes. These numbers are 15 percent to 30 percent higher when occasional Internet users are included for 1998.
The CIA predicts there will be nearly 320 million Internet users or 52.5 per 1,000 people worldwide at year-end 2000 and nearly 720 million users, or 110 per 1,000 people by year-end 2005. North America will have 32 percent of the Internet users with 230 million at year-end 2005.
|Internet Users by Region|
|Source: Computer Industry Almanac|
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