One sign of growing wealth in merging markets of developing nations is the increase in use of the internet and digital devices. To provide a picture of the size and scope of this change, here are 10 facts about the internet in emerging markets.

  1. Between 2000 and 2017, internet use in Africa grew by 7,500 percent. In the Middle East, the increase was 4,200 percent, and in Latin America, 2,000 percent.
  2. By the end of last year, 47 percent of the world’s population had internet access; by the end of next year, 51 percent will be internet users, for a total of 3.82 billion people going online.
  3. The number of people going online through use of their mobile phone is increasing. More than 72 percent of internet users last year connected through a mobile phone, up 11.9 percent from 2015. Emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are driving the growth of smartphone internet usage.
  4. The countries experiencing the most rapid growth in smartphone ownership are Turkey (at 42 percent) and Malaysia (34 percent), followed by Chile and Brazil, both at 26 percent.
  5. At the end of 2015, 54 percent of adults in emerging economies were on the internet, an increase of nine percent from 2013. That same year, 21 percent accessed the web through a smartphone. That percentage rose to 37 by the end of 2015.
  6. Internet penetration is especially strong in large emerging countries. At least 72 percent of adults in Russia and Turkey are online. The percentage dips slightly to 68 percent in Malaysia, then again to 65 percent in China and 60 percent in Brazil.
  7. The growth rate for the internet in emerging markets is particularly rapid in these large developing countries. Internet use in Turkey increased by 31 percent between 2013 and 2015. In that same period, Jordan experienced a 20 percent bump. Malaysia followed with a 19 percent increase. Chile, Brazil and China all experienced growth of 10 to 12 percent.
  8. Once online, internet users in emerging markets are more likely to use social networks than internet users from the U.S. and Europe. In the Middle East, 86 percent of internet users visit social networks; in Latin America it is 82 percent. By contrast, 71 percent of Americans online use social networks. The percentage drops to 65 in Europe.
  9. Social networking in emerging countries is especially strong in Jordan (90 percent of adult internet users), Indonesia (89 percent), the Philippines (88 percent), Venezuela (88 percent) and Turkey (87 percent).
  10. The rise in social networking as the use of the internet in emerging markets grows has been particularly swift in China. There, 63 percent of internet users in 2015 reported being social networkers, up 15 percentage points from 48 percent just two years earlier.

Increasing wealth in developing countries, especially large developing countries such as Russia, China and Turkey, is making it possible for more and more of their people to be connected. Continued growth will result in continuing communication and internet use around the world.

Robert Cornet

Photo: Flickr