Ever since it became mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, the Internet has played an active role in reshaping our world. From the early days of dial-up, we’ve come a long way. It’s likely we will soon live in a world where free internet can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
However, right now, we’re still in the relatively early days of the internet. Use is still growing rapidly in many parts of the world, and our reasons for going online are changing all the time.
To get a snapshot of where we are now, we’ve compiled all the stats we could find about internet use in 2020. This should show us just how far we’ve come but also just how far we have to go.
Internet Use in 2020
- Currently, more than 4.79 billion people around the world use the internet.
- Since 2000, there has been a 1,157 percent increase in the number of internet users around the world.
- Today, just over 61 percent of the world’s population access the internet frequently.
- Since 2010, the Middle East is the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of internet use. There has been a 5,243 percent increase in the number of users.
- The US alone generates over 3 million GB of internet traffic per day.
Stats About Websites
When we’re on the internet, we’re almost always on a website or some version of it. Here are some stats about them:
- Overall, there more than 2 billion websites across the internet, and 35 percent of them are using WordPress as their content management system.
- However, around 75 percent of the websites out there are not active.
- There are 351.8 million registered domain names in the world
- The most common domain name extensions are:
- According to the Alexa ranking of websites, the most-visited sites in the world are:
- Tmall (up from #8)
- Facebook (down from #4)
- Baidu (down from #45
- Tencent (not on last year’s top ten)
- Sohu (not on last year’s top ten)
- Taobao (down from #7)
- cn (not on last year’s top ten)
- com (not on last year’s top ten)
There are quite a few rising stars on this list, including some newcomers. To make room, Wikipedia (#5 in 2019), Yahoo (#9 in 2019,) and Amazon (#10 in 2019), all fell off the list, but just barely. This should not be taken as a sign things are unwinding for these massive companies.
Also, as you can see, many of the world’s most popular sites are those most frequently used in Asia, such as Qq, Baidu, and Taobao, where there are more internet users than any other part of the world.
Stats About Email and Blogging
Two of the most common things people do on the internet are writing and reading emails and blogging, either as a writer or a reader. Here are some stats about both to show you just how popular each one is:
- In total, there are more than 440 million blogs around the world.
- There are 6.7 million people blogging on a variety of sites such as Tumblr and Blogger.
- According to Hosting Tribunal there are 120 million blog posts published each month, and more than 409 million people read 22.3 billion blog posts per month.
- Blogger is the most commonly used blog platform with over 46 million monthly active users.
- The majority of bloggers are women.
How Do People Use The Internet
Clearly, the internet is about more than just blogging and writing emails. Here is a summary of the other ways people use the internet.
But first, here’s what we know about how people get online:
- Most people use the internet on their phones. 51.5 percent of worldwide internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
Once they’re on the internet, here’s what most people do:
One of the most popular things to do is search for information. Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches every day, which is 1.2 trillion a year, or 40,000 a second.
The most popular search terms in 2019 were the same as in 2019. They were:
- Weather (24.4 million)
- Maps (20.4 million)
- Translate (18.3 million)
- Calculator (16.2 million)
- YouTube to MP3 (12.6 million)
- Speed Test (8.25 million)
- News (8.25 million)
- Thesaurus (6.7 million)
- Powerball (5.7 million)
- Donald Trump (5.6 million)
However, trending topics, those which are searched at a high volume for a short period, reflect how Google is the go-to source of information for a wide range of topics. The most popular trending topics included:
- Disney Plus
- Avengers: Endgame
- People Antonio Brown, Neymar, James Charles, Cameron Boyce Jessie Smollett, and Kevin Hart
- News stories/events: Copa America, Rugby World Cup, iPhone 11, India vs. South Africa, and Hurricane Dorian
Not surprisingly, social media is a huge part of our internet lives.
Here are some stats about just how much we use it:
- The most popular social media platforms are:
- Facebook (2.414 billion users)
- Instagram (1.3 billion users)
- Twitter (330 million users)
- LinkedIn (310 million users)
- Snapchat (294 million users)
- Here’s a breakdown of social media preferences in the US:
- 68 percent of choose Facebook as their primary social media platform
- 35 percent use Instagram
- 29 percent use Pinterest
- 24 percent use Twitter
Some stats about Facebook:
- The average person in the United States uses Facebook for 58 minutes per day
- The typical Facebook session lasts between 10 and 12 minutes
- Facebook is the third most visited website in the world
- Of its 2.234 billion monthly users, 66 percent use the platform every day, with that number reach 74 percent in the United States
- Just 35 percent of Facebook users are less than 25-years-old
- 78 percent of Facebook users report using it to discover and learn about new products or services
Stats about other social media channels:
- There are 4.2 billion Instagram photos “liked” every single day
- Every day, 100 million new pictures are loaded up onto Instagram
- 22 percent of Instagram users login to check their profiles daily
- 80 percent of Instagram users are from a country besides the United States
- In any given minute:
- 2,083,333 snaps are sent on Snapchat
- 79,740 posts are published on Tumblr
- 176,220 calls are made on Skype
- 473,400 tweets are sent
A big reason we use the internet is to communicate with one another in some form. But another popular activity amongst internet users is watching videos, which we do in a variety of different ways.
In terms of the number of unique monthly visitors, the most popular video platforms are:
Some more stats to consider:
- 45 percent of people around the world watch more than an hour of online video content each day
- Of people between 18-34-years-old, 50 percent say they would drop what they are doing to watch a new video posted by a channel to which they subscribe
- 50 percent of people watch a video before they purchase something
- More than half of the videos people watch on YouTube are viewed through its mobile app
- Businesses are catching on to the fact that video is a good way to reach new customers. In the last three years, the amount of money spent on video advertisements has increased by 95 percent
- In addition, more companies want in on the streaming game. In November 2019, Disney launched its signature streaming service – Disney Plus – and already has more than 10 million subscribers
The other major thing people do on the internet is shop. An entire industry—known as eCommerce—has developed around people’s love of shopping and buying things online. Here’s a breakdown of how the industry has gotten to where it is today:
- Last year (2019), global eCommerce sales reached $3.46 trillion
- 25 percent of all the money people spend online is through mobile phones
- By 2021, this is expected to increase to 75 percent, with mobile eCommerce sales predicted to generate over $3.5 trillion
Here’s a summary of what people buy online according to each product’s share of mobile sales. There’s likely some overlap amongst the categories, which explains the wonky math:
- Toys and hobbies – 64 percent
- Video games – 61 percent
- Jewelry and watches – 53 percent
- Sports and fitness – 41 percent
- Home and garden – 31 percent
- Apparel and accessories – 27 percent
- Consumer electronics – 18 percent
However, for as big as mobile shopping is, desktop is still important. Here are some stats:
- The average order from a desktop is $179.98
- The average order from a tablet is $87
- The average order from a smartphone is $79.33
When we’re shopping online, chances are we’re shopping from a large retailer. Measured in terms of market share, here’s where we do most of our online shopping:
Clearly, Amazon has a big lead, but these large companies only consume only about 69.6 percent of the market, meaning there is plenty of room for other businesses to make their mark.
ECommerce Around the World
Shopping online is not just a thing people do in the United States. In fact, the US doesn’t even have the largest amount of online shoppers. Here are the top six countries by shopper number:
- China – 1.03 billion online shoppers
- United States – 259 million online shoppers
- Brazil – 19 million online shoppers
- Germany – 64 million online shoppers
- Mexico – 60 million online shoppers
- United Kingdom – 53 million online shoppers.
However, just because China has the most amount of shoppers doesn’t mean that’s where the money is.
- In the US, the average amount of money each person spends online is $1,952
- In China, that number is just $634
A big portion of the money generated by eCommerce comes on “Black Friday” and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, which kicks off the holiday shopping season. Here are some stats about this “billion-dollar holiday,”
- Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, generated $9.4 billion in sales in 2019
- Black Friday generated $7.4billion
The internet is clearly an important part of our lives. We do a lot of things and spend a lot of money while online, and we can only expect this trend to continue. More and more people around the world will get internet access, and this will open up a whole new set of possibilities in terms of what the internet can provide.