New York, NY - Global Internet use slowed between 1999 and 2000, but last year saw 7% growth in Internet users over 2002, according to Ipsos- Insight's The Face of the Web. The annual study of Internet trends by Ipsos-Insight, the global survey-based marketing research firm, has been tracking Internet developments around the world since 1999. The latest findings--based on interviews in thirteen key global markets with more than 7,100 adults, including 3,250 active Internet users--reflect a rapid adoption of this medium in leading edge, advancing, and emerging economies. The growth in Internet usage in 2003 was primarily driven by urban China, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, which have been among the fastest growing Internet markets in past years. Urban Russia and the Western European markets of the U.K. and France continue to grow steadily. However, Internet user growth in the United States has stagnated, partly because the majority (78%) of the U.S. adult population has used the Internet. According to Brian Cruikshank, leader of the global research team and Senior Vice-President of Ipsos-Insight, "Any future growth in the number of unique users in mature markets is likely to occur in smaller increments, as a certain portion of the population will continue to have little or no need for the Internet. The strongest new user growth is coming from Western Europe and Asia." Due to its sheer size, the U.S. still accounts for the largest Internet market, representing 40% of the total Internet population, consisting of users who accessed the Internet within a 30-day period. Following in a distant second are Japan and Germany, together comprising an estimated 100 million Internet users, or 30% of the global Internet population measured in thirteen markets. The United States, Canada, and South Korea have the highest proportions of Internet users among the 13 countries surveyed. Close to seven in ten adults in these countries reported having gone online at least once in the previous 30 days (see chart below). As leading edge markets such as the U.S., Canada, and South Korea near saturation, next-level growth in new users will continue to come from Western Europe and East Asia. "In mature markets, service providers, networks, and marketers can no longer count on a wave of new users," adds Cruikshank, " Successful business development efforts will need to focus on `more of the same eyeballs,' as opposed to `more new eyeballs.'" This strategy is supported by the fact that the overall number of people who have accessed the Internet in some markets may have dropped or stagnated, yet those who get connected do so more frequently. The stagnation in online traffic growth in mature markets implies an increased importance in offering products and services that cater to various user segments. Methodology The Face of the Web 2003 study was conducted in October 2003 among a random sample of approximately 7,100 adults in urban Brazil, Canada, urban China, France, Germany, urban India, Japan, urban Mexico, urban Russia, South Korea, South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S. The results of the survey were published in a 135-slide report by Ipsos-Insight in December 2003. The Face of the Web 2003 study also examined:
- Equipment and technologies used to access the Internet, as they relate to future home networking possibilities
- Both wired and wireless activities performed
- Types of connectivity (i.e., broadband cable, DSL, dial-up modem, etc.) and trends in emerging technologies such as Wi-Fi
- Extent of wireless Internet connectivity, types of wireless devices in use, and intentions for adopting Internet-enabled wireless Internet technologies
- Global Internet awareness, trial and usage within thirteen key markets around the world
- Barriers to Internet usage, future plans to go online and implications of Internet growth.