This latest report from eMarketer serves to inform over the disparity between internet access in the developed and developing economies, but we see it more as confirming our Rise of the New Middle Class investing theme. Moreover, odds are these developing economies will leap frog the developed ones in terms of new, Disruptive Technology adoption. Why build networks with legacy technologies when ones that offer greater bandwidth and speed are available?
Why build telephony landlines when you can start fresh with high speed mobile networks? Imagine if the first device you had was a 4G or 5G smartphone compared to a less than 2G mobile phone with somewhere between 12-14 keys. Implications abound!
The global population is made up of two halves—those who access the internet and those who do not. This divide is underscored by internet user penetration worldwide, which will reach 50% in 2019.
“There is a gap in digital maturity between advanced economies and developing markets,” said Corey McNair, forecasting analyst at eMarketer and author of our latest report, “Global Digital Users 2018: Over 80% of Internet Users to Log Online via Mobile Phone.
“Internet penetration rates in digitally robust markets in Western Europe and North America hover around 80%. Meanwhile, in less developed parts of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, penetration is well below 50%.
A majority of the growth in internet user numbers will take place in Asia-Pacific in 2018. Of the 182.2 million new internet users worldwide this year, we forecast that 42.4 million will reside in China and 54.2 million in India. Over the next few years, markets like India will close the gap in digital maturity, while the Middle East and Africa will continue to lag.