In epsiode #17 of the CompuSchmooze podcast, we have a conversation with Adam Wright, senior research manager at Ipsos Insight, the Canadian market research firm that conducts “The Face of the Web” Survey about worldwide Internet usage.
Here’s the text of the related “CompuSchmoozeTM” column as it appears in the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey in July.
CompuSchmoozeTM July 2006: Face of the WebSurvey Shows Web Increasingly Facing the Far East
By Steven L. Lubetkin
Copyright © 2006 Steven L. Lubetkin. All rights reserved.
The most interesting nugget of information in a recent survey about worldwide use of the Internet is not the dramatic slowdown in Internet adoption n 2005 vs. 2004.
It’s the surprising fact that Internet users in China are spending more time online than users in other countries — 17.9 hours each week, compared with just 11.4 hours in the US.
Internet adoption in developed countries only grew about five percent in 2005, a significant slowdown from the 20 percent growth achieved in 2004, according to the “Face of the Web” study conducted by Ipsos Insight, a Canadian market research company (www.ipsos-na.com).
Ipsos has conducted the Face of the Web survey each year since 1999. Today, the survey focuses on responses from among 6,500 adults (3,462 of whom are described as “active Internet users”) in 12 key global markets.
Ipsos isn’t quite sure why Chinese web-surfers dominated online usage, but survey author Adam Wright of Ipsos thinks that the difficulty of scaling the survey to less urban parts of China may have something to do with the results.
Because most of the respondents in China are in developed urban area are in developed urban areas, they probably
have more time and opportunity to go online, he said in an interview over the Skype Internet telephony network.
“As to why they’re spending so much time online, there probably isnt one silver bullet or simple answer to this,” Wright said. “It’s partly a question of how much downtime do consumers have in China, and how are they filling that downtime.”
Businesses seeking to grow in online economies need to figure out how to reach Asian consumers, and that can mean developing Internet applications tailored to use via cell phones, Wright added.
Asia is much more skewed toward using a cell phone or handset to go online, he said. The mobile phone could very well beat the PC or rival it from a prevalence standpoint as an Internet platform.
Although Chinese users spend more hours online, it was Japanthat dominated the survey’s results for online usage growth. Ipsos estimates more than 75 million Japanese now use the Internet, representing 89% who said they had used the Internet in the past month.
That compared with a 71% usage rate in the US, and 72% in Canada. Internet usage in North America appears to be plateauing, because these numbers remained essentially unchanged from the 2004 survey.
Some other key trends reported in the survey:
North American laptop computer ownership is driving demand for wireless Internet access, as more than a third of the survey respondents in North America said they accessed the ‘Netwirelessly in the last month. Also, two-fifths of those who said they heard of wireless technology said they had used it.
– Europeans are more readily adopting mobile phones as an Internet access device.
– China’s Internet market still has room to grow significantly, with only about half those surveyed indicating they used the ‘Net in the last 30 days.
Ipsos expects continued increases in the use of wireless devices worldwide, often in unexpected ways.
“The trends we’re seeing in Wireless PC usage, ownership of peripheral devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones, and the presumed rising levels of awareness of and comfort using the Internet globally, really set the stage for a tipping point in the near future for this medium,”said Brian Cruikshank, Ipsos Senior Vice President & Managing Director of the company’s Technology & Communications practice. “We anticipate continued growth in consumer adoption of the digital lifestyle globally particularly as consumers become to expect access to the Internet in an anytime/anywhere paradigm for communication, gathering and sharing information, and accessing digital content and entertainment.”
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