Global Internet Usage Defies Conventional Wisdom

While the results of International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Project Atlas, a worldwide survey of Internet usage, confirm that the Internet and e-commerce are now truly a global phenomenon, conventional views about different countries’ usage are often surprisingly off the mark.

“What was unexpected were the differences between individual countries,” said John Gantz, senior vice president and chief research officer at IDC. “For example, a higher percentage of respondents access the Internet from schools in Mexico than in Japan, a country renowned for its advanced education.”

Other distinctions include the fact that 26 percent of Japanese advanced Internet users have three devices in their homes, and that 80 percent of users in India prefer English-language sites.

80 Countries And 13 Languages

The Project Atlas survey was conducted in 13 major languages in cooperation with some of the Web’s top portals. IDC received more than 28,000 responses from more than 80 countries, most of which were centered in North America, Latin America, Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The survey was launched last summer. Respondents were recruited via banner ads on 16 major portals around the world. Since respondents were not randomly selected, the results are not applicable to the market as a whole.

E-Commerce At Home And Work

IDC also found that e-commerce is surprisingly widespread throughout most of the world. When asked whether they had purchased online in the past three months, at least 25 percent of respondents answered affirmatively in several countries, including such underdeveloped nations as India and China.

Among those purchasing over the Net, users on every continent were more likely to buy from home than work, although many made work-related purchases from home. The amount spent during an online shopping visit ranged from under $35 (US$) in Denmark, Spain and China to more than $70 in the U.S., Argentina and Puerto Rico.

Local And International Buying

The U.S. had the highest percentage of users who purchased goods from their own country, with more than 90 percent of U.S. purchases coming from domestic companies. Peru was the country most likely to buy abroad, with less than 25 percent of its purchases going to local businesses.

Users in China also purchased primarily from domestic companies, with 85 percent of purchases going to home-based businesses.

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