More than 2 billion people are expected to use mobile devices to access the Internet in 2016, according to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to the report, nearly two-thirds of the 3.2 billion people who are expected to have access to the Internet will make their connection using a mobile device.
IDC said the total number of mobile Internet users is forecast to grow at a rate of two percent each year through 2020, barring the introduction of new methods of accessing the Internet that prove significant. Areas expected to see particularly strong growth include China, India and Indonesia.
“Over the next five years global growth in the number of people accessing the Internet exclusively through mobile devices will grow by more than 25 percent per year while the amount of time we spend on them continues to grow,” said IDC’s Strategic Advisory Service Program Director Scott Strawn. “This change in the way we access the Internet is fueling explosive growth in mobile commerce and mobile advertising.”
The IDC said the massive expansion of mobile Internet access is partially due to the growing prevalence of affordable devices and wireless networks, making access possible for those who could not previously afford it.
According to a new IDC infographic, Asia accounts for 44 percent of worldwide Internet users. China has the highest number of mobile devices in Asia, with 981 million.
The infographic also shows that though the United States has the highest usage per person per month at 92 hours, Canada actually tops its southern neighbor to take the honors for highest percent of the population using the Internet in North America at 87 percent.
The IDC found that uses of the Internet vary. More than one billion people use the web for online banking, music streaming and job hunting, while more than two billion also use it for email and reading news.
Online shopping is also becoming more prevalent. In 2015, the IDC forecasts that more than $100 billion each will be spent on online purchases of travel, books, CDs, DVDs, app downloads and online classes. The highest per capita ecommerce spending on mobile devices comes, somewhat surprisingly, from Singapore with a per capita figure of $2,094.