Half of the world's population is now connected to the Internet


This is one of the most anticipated publications of the year in tech. The traditional report of the American analyst Mary Meeker,
nicknamed the Internet pythia

   , was released Tuesday night. Full of numbers and graphical analysis of global trends in the digital economy, it is considered the bible of the sector.

Main information to remember
the 333-page block:

    the number of people having connected to the Internet exceeds for the first time half of the world's population. With 3.8 billion internet users in 2018, 51% of people worldwide have had access, compared to 49% in 2017. A figure that speaks volumes about the widespread use of consumer computing. In 2009, only 24% of the world's population was connected to the Internet.


But although the number of Internet users continues to increase (6% in 2018), the pace of penetration has been less sustained for two years. And for good reason, in some parts of the world, it begins to reach ceilings. Nearly 90% of the Japanese connected to the Internet in 2018, compared to 89% in North America or 78% in Europe. The decline in 2017 and 2018 sales of smartphones – the most used terminal to access the Internet -, also makes it difficult for new Internet users.

Europe, digital dwarf

However, companies in the technology sector can continue to monetize the increasingly important time spent online by users. In 2018, Americans spent nearly 6.3 hours online each day. The share of mobile Internet (3.6 hours) continues to increase at the expense of laptops and desktop (2 hours, against 2.5 hours in 2010).

As a direct result of this democratization of Internet access and the ever-increasing time devoted to it, the tech giants are the big winners of this turn of the century. Seven of the world's top ten companies are technology companies (only financials Berkshire Hathaway, Visa, and health giant Johnson & Johnson are in the top 10).


Of the top 30 capitalizations of digital companies, 18 companies are American, against 7 for China. With only one company in the top 30 (the Swedish streaming giant Spotify), Europe has a hard time getting rid of its
digital dwarf image


The rise of confidentiality

This trend is not new, however. Unlike some phenomena, which appeared in 2018. Mary Meeker notes that
confidentiality becomes a selling point

    more and more important for tech companies. In the first quarter, 87% of global traffic was encrypted, against 53% three years ago, the US analyst.

This desire for confidentiality, coupled with increasingly stringent regulations, also has consequences for online advertising. Expenditures have certainly continued to increase (+ 22% in 2018), but the RGPD or California personal data laws have imposed certain giants like Facebook or
Google to put an end to some of their practices

   , notes the analyst.


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