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Number of internet, digital device users continues to increase

Jan. 11, 2019
by Mark Ollig

While writing today’s column, I heard the window rattling, and the wind howling outside.

Looking out the window, I noticed several tree branches bending from the force caused by the tremendous gusts of wind.

Speaking into my smartphone, I asked Google “What is the current wind gust?”

Google, knowing my location, reported the strongest wind gusts of 40 mph coming from the west-northwest.

Having this information, I decided it was a good time to get up from my desk and have another cup of coffee.

But, I digress to today’s column.

I just obtained some of the year-end numbers for 2018.

As of October 2018, the Global Digital reports compiled by We Are Social and Hootsuite stated there are nearly 4.2 billion internet users on the planet. This means more than half the world’s population is now online.

There are 3.4 billion users active on social media, which is a 10 percent increase from 2017.

Mobile devices are now being used to access social media sites by 9 out of 10 users.

In 2018, the most significant increase was in the number of mobile/smartphone users, at 5.6 billion, or two-thirds of the planet’s population.

The OS (operating system) used for internet web requests shows 76.6 percent are from devices using the Android OS, 20.7 percent from Apple iOS, and 2.7 percent from other mobile operating systems.

As of October 2018, the total number of mobile apps (applications) downloaded to all mobile device types around the world is 29 billion.

If we add up every type of mobile device being used in the world, our number would be nearly 9 billion.

It’s an impressive number, considering the total population of our planet is 7.6 billion.

When looking at the type of devices used for accessing content on the web in 2018, mobile/smartphones are utilized by 56.6 percent of users, while laptop/desktop computers accounted for 44.1 percent. Tablet devices (such as iPads) comprise 4.2 percent.

As far as internet downloading speed in 2018, mobile devices averaged 23 Mbps, while 47.8 Mbps was realized using fixed/wired/hard connections to the internet.

The country with the fastest fixed internet connection in 2018 was Singapore, which averaged 189.4 Mbps.

The US ranked sixth, with a reported 100.07 Mbps average internet broadband downloading speed.

When looking at the country with the fastest mobile internet connections, Norway ranks number one, with 63.13 Mbps. Canada comes in eighth, at 51.46 Mbps.

According to Alexa (an Amazon research company), the top global sites on the web currently are:

1. Google

2. YouTube

3. Facebook

4. Baidu (Chinese search engine)

5. Wikipedia

6. Qq (China’s most used internet portal)

7. Taobao (Chinese online shopping site)

8. Amazon

9. Yahoo

10. Tmall (Chinese premier online shopping site)

11. Twitter

In 2018, there was an increase in how we control our devices and perform search engine queries via “voice search and device commands.”

The Global Digital report broke down the voice search and device commands by age and percentages:

• age 16 to 24 – 46 percent;

• age 25 to 34 – 45 percent;

• age 35 to 44 – 35 percent;

• age 45 to 54 – 27 percent; and,

• age 55 to 64 – 19 percent.

This writer falls into the 19 percent category. I regularly use voice commands in performing my online searches, and for dialing telephone numbers from my smartphone.

Sharing photos, videos, and comments since Oct. 6, 2010, the popular social site Instagram (owned by Facebook) has seen increased US usage from 28.3 percent of the population, to 31.8 percent during 2018.

An estimated 104.7 million people in the US used Instagram during 2018, with 52.6 percent of the population accessing the site at least once a month.

The main percentage of Instagram users are 25 to 34 years old, and constitute 29.4 million of its total users.

The top 10 Instagram accounts as of October 2018, based on the number of followers, are:

1. @Instagram, 256,110,000;

2. @SelenaGomez, 144,140,000;

3. @Christiano, 143,200,000;

4. @ArianaGrande, 130,630,000;

5. @KimKardashian, 118,850,000;

6. @Beyonce, 118,700,000;

7. @TheRock, 117,560,000;

8. @KylieJenner, 116,230,000;

9. @Taylorswift, 112,170,000; and

10. @NeymarJR, 103,490,000.

The Digital Global report for this year predicts “accelerating growth in internet users across developing countries.”

The report also states social media sites will continue to see strong growth and new users; however, a noticeable user decline of one particular unnamed social media platform is mentioned – I assume because of the recent controversy, the report is referring to Facebook.

Strong growth in online consumer spending will also continue this year. More folks are using the internet to purchase their items; including groceries, which are being home delivered by many stores.

For 2018, the average amount of time spent online each day was estimated to be six hours – which I, no doubt, average.

This year, as the cost of smartphones lessons, I look for the number of internet users across the globe to once again substantially increase.

The gusty winds have subsided, so I will head outside for a – hopefully – relaxing walk. I might even put my smartphone on “Do Not Disturb.”


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