A staggering three billion people will have access to the Internet by 2018, according to figures from eMarketer. This figure roughly equates to just under half of the world’s population, with 2018 predicted to be the year when the web really does become “worldwide,” The Drum reports.
According to eMarketer, the web user base will increase by 6.2% next year to 42.4% of the entire population. By 2018, this figure will rise again to 48.2%, meaning that around 3.6 billion people will have access to the web at least once per month.
In terms of web access by country, Brazil is predicted to overtake Japan this year to become the country with the fourth largest web population. China, who currently tops the list, is predicted to have approximately 777 million people online in 2018; a significant jump from the current 669.8 million users. In two years’ time, it is expected that India will overtake the US to become the second largest web user.
Senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, Monica Peart, commented that mobile broadband connectivity and affordable mobile phones are driving web access and usage in countries where fixed Internet has been impossible for people, whether that was due to cost or lack of infrastructure.
While developed countries are almost saturated in relation to number of web users, there is still substantial room for growth in markets that are emerging, Pear concludes. She gives the examples of India and Indonesia; both of which are expected to witness double-digit growth every year up until 2018.