This is the kind of data you often need but do not have at hand. Internet users, defined here as someone who uses the Internet at least once per month, reached 1 Billion individuals in 2006 according to the ITU i.e. 17% of the world population.
The US is still the leading market but China will probably take the lead before the end of the decade says eMarketer. South Korea has the most important penetration ratio with 70.5% of its population already Internet users. In Europe Germany is the widest market with 39.4M Internet users. Take a look at the chart above for more details.
Morgan Stanley in The State of the Internet, Part III forecasts interesting demographics and behaviors that we should integrate in our Marketing 2.0 plans:
- "The Internet continues to go global
- Online video is gaining momentum
- User-generated content properties have moved to the top of the pack, owing to their focus on community and personalization
- Longer term, monetization should grow faster than usage, which should grow faster than users. Global Internet thesis calls for 10-15% user growth, 20-30% usage growth, and 30%+ monetization growth." -- Morgan Stanley