eMarketer has updated its projections for global Internet usage between 2016 to 2021, due to a boost in usage across China, the Asia Pacific region, Central and Eastern, but also Western Europe.
This year, 47% of the population worldwide will use the Internet at least once a month, predominantly via desktop or mobile devices. That’s a growth of 6.1% compared to 2016.
By 2019, the research firm predicts that global Internet usage will cross the 50% mark (to 50.6% to be exact). In translation, this equates to 3.82 billion people across the globe using the Internet.
This increase is driven by developing and low-income country across Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe as well as Latin America and the Middle East as well as Africa.
Mobile presents the device that many people will use to go online for the first time. Mobile Internet usage has grown a whopping 9.3% from 2016, with almost four in five online users predicted to access the Internet from their phones this year. Naturally, this growth is being supported by improvements in network coverage and WiFi.
eMarketer adds that smartphones are becoming cheaper which also has a major affect on Internet adoption rates worldwide. Smartphone user figures are predicted to double across all markets except North America this year.
In Latin America, 2017 marks the first year when more than three in five Internet users will be using a smartphone. That’s going to increase to 72% by 2021.
Messaging apps are also helping to boost Internet usage on mobile devices as they are now the dominant way to connect with family and friends.
98% of mobile Internet users in North America will use their smartphones to go online. In Western Europe that percentage is 97%. eMarketer says that these increases are driven by the older generation going online for the first time.