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Worldwide Internet Users Top 1.2 Billion in 2006
USA Tops 210M Internet Users

February 12, 2007 -
The worldwide number of Internet users surpassed 1.2 billion in 2006—up from only 2M+ in 1990, 45M in 1995 and 430M in 2000. Worldwide yearly increase in Internet users is 140M to 145M in the next five years, which means the 2B mark will happen in 2011 or 2012. Much of current and future Internet user growth is coming from populous countries—especially  the BRIC countriesBrazil, Russia, India, China. In the next decade many Internet users will be supplementing PC Internet usage with Smartphone, mobile phone and mobile device Internet usage. In developing countries many new Internet users will come from cell phone and Smartphone Internet usage. The U.S. continues to lead with over 210M Internet users at year-end 2006. The two most populous countries—China and India—are now in 2nd and 4th place in Internet users. Other populous countries such as Brazil, Russia and Indonesia have also moved into the top 15 ranking.

Top 15 Countries in Internet Usage

Year-end 2006: Internet Users (#M) Share %
1. U.S. 210.2 17.3
2. China 131.1 10.8
3. Japan 90.9 7.5
4. India 67.6 5.6
5. Germany 50.3 4.1
6. UK 39.7 3.3
7. South Korea 35.0 2.9
8. France 32.0 2.6
9. Italy 31.6 2.6
10. Brazil 29.5 2.4
11. Russia 27.6 2.3
12. Canada 23.3 1.9
13. Indonesia 22.7 1.9
14. Mexico 20.6 1.7
15. Spain 17.8 1.5
Top 15 Countries 829.9 68.3
Worldwide Total 1,216 100

Internet user penetration is now over 70% for the leading countries and future growth is limited for these countries. Internet user penetration for the populous and developing countries remains low, but has room to grow. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) have Internet penetration of 15%, 19%, 6% and 10%, respectively. Wireless web usage will account for much of future Internet user growth in many developing countries. 

More information is available in "Internet Users By Country", a yearly market research report by eTForecasts. The report estimates and forecasts the number of Internet users and broadband subscribers for 57 countries and the six main regions of the world for 1990 through 2011.

eTForecasts publishes market research reports for the PC, PDA/Smartphones, cell phones and Internet industries.