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How Many People Really Use the Internet?

Keller Hawthorne | April 18, 2009 | 11 Comments
Understanding the Online Market

And So It Began…

GlobeIn 1994, the first online bank opened its doors, pizza hut offered ordering on its website for the first time, and flower delivery and magazine subscriptions made their first attempts to reach a brand new channel of sales and distribution the world had never seen before. The world of marketing was about to embark on an endless growth of new, international customer streams and ever expanding 24hour enterprises. With the creation of the first web browser, the World Wide Web introduced by Tim Berners-Lee, consumers all over the world would have their first opportunity to shop in the comfort of their own homes.

Since then, we have seen enormous ecommerce giants take the lead in sales and goods distribution, such as eBay and Amazon. But, how many people are actually using the Internet? Just how powerful is this technology?

Think You’re the Only One Online? Think Again…

eMarketer, an independent research company, estimates that almost two-thirds of US adults claim to go online every day. That’s almost 200 MILLION US adults a year! And many of these Internet users are spending money online. Sucharita Mulpuru, a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, estimates “Nontravel online retail revenues will top the quarter-trillion-dollar mark by 2011.” With more consumers using the Internet and shopping from the convenience of their homes, the potential for earning a living online is growing every day!

Well, It’s Probably All Youngsters, Right?

Despite what you may think, it’s not just the younger generation surfing the net these days. My mom is glued to Drudge Report and does most of her shopping online. My Dad uses the net to learn new beer making methods. Heck, even my grandma has an email account!

On July 25, 2008, Forrester Research published a document titled “State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008.” In it, Sucharita Mulpuru, author of the section “Benchmark 2008: The Web Purchasing Power Of Gen X” said:

“Despite recent economic woes, online retail sales are projected to grow 17% in 2008 and surpass the $200 billion mark. Further, the bulk of online retail sales are driven by tenured Gen Xers and Boomers, a cross-section of the Web buyer population that values the convenience of the online channel and is actively spending more on the Web. These folks are less price-sensitive, disproving the theory that online shopping inevitably leads to brand-disloyal shoppers. Gen Xers account for 34% of all online shoppers, while Boomers represent 38%.

The Baby Boomer generation is made up of people born between 1946 and 1964. Generation Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. So, that’s 72% of online shoppers that are full blown adults!

But adults shouldn’t be the only market you consider when deciding to make a living online. The younger generations, including mine (Generation Y born between 1980 and 1999) hold a lot of power. Many are now adults with credit cards, while others are teens and children with parents who have credit cards. They are very savvy Internet Users (as we grew up with the technology) and can provide fantastic income streams for online advertisers, affiliates, and social networks. I personally have done 90% of my Christmas shopping online for the last 7 years. My friends are all on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook and everyone I know has shopped at

There’s Even More to Come

With the advent of the Internet, local markets have been globalized, world-wide social networks have formed, and an unlimited amount of information has become available to everyone, rich or poor, young or old. We have advanced to a technological world in which we can process information faster and more efficiently. The future will only bring more Internet users, each shopping, communicating and observing.

Do you know of anyone who DOESN’T use the Internet? When did you start surfing the net?

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