It’s a fascinating place, the internet. For somewhere that doesn’t really exist, we tend to spend an awful lot of time there – and lots of money, too. If you run a website or are thinking of setting one up, it’s a place you will need to get familiar with on a different level to that of an internet user. For that reason, we’ve put together these interesting facts that might just help you see how vast and influential the internet is and what enormous potential your website can have.
- It’s a big marketplace
If you are setting up a website to sell products to people or to get your message to a wider audience, you have made a shrewd decision. There are now 3.74 billion internet users on the planet – about half of the world’s population. That figure is growing too. In 2017, there were half a billion more users than in 2016. If you have a website, that’s a phenomenal number of people who are able to visit your pages.
A quarter of all internet users, 731 million, are in China; however, if you are looking for the country with the highest concentration of users, it’s the United Arab Emirates where 99% of the population is online.
- There’s a lot of money to be made
Okay, so not everyone is going to amass the $115 billion that has recently made Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world. However, the internet is responsible for generation eye-watering amounts of money. In 2016, that figure was £1.5 trillion ($2.1 trillion). That’s around the size of the UK national debt. Most of this was generated from e-commerce.
Most e-commerce sales, 55%, take place on branded internet stores, the remainder happen on online marketplaces, like eBay or Ali Baba. The biggest of those is Amazon which takes 80% of all money spent on e-commerce marketplaces.
Looking at individual consumers, the average person spends £350 a year online but men are the biggest shoppers, spending 28% more online than women.
- The need for speed
If you want your website to succeed, you are going to need a web host who can deliver fast loading speeds. Slow websites are the reason half of all shopping carts get abandoned, costing online businesses $500 billion, just in the US, every year.
With higher expectations from customers, tolerance of slow sites has decreased. Today, a site that takes six seconds to load will lose half its potential sales. Monitoring of users’ browsing habits has shown that speeding up loading times from eight to two seconds can boost conversions by a staggering 74%.
- The future is mobile
As smartphone ownership has grown, so has mobile web browsing. Today, there are more mobile surfers, 3.5 billion, than those who just use a computer. While most people in the developed world tend to use both, in the UK we spend 66% of our internet time on a mobile device.
Although we access the internet more on smartphones, mobile shopping hasn’t yet caught up with desktop shopping. One of the reasons for this is that we currently spend 90% of our smartphone time on social media and other apps. When it comes to shopping, conversion rates on desktops are still higher than on mobiles. Around 3% of desktop shoppers make a purchase whereas the rate for smartphones is only 0.8%.
That said, the trend is a movement towards mobile shopping. Mobile revenue is set to rise from £120 billion in 2016 to £500 billion in 2019 and by the following year, almost half of all internet sales will take place on mobile devices.
Mobile-friendly websites are not just useful for online retailers, they are also beneficial for bricks and mortar stores, too. In 2017, over 80% of consumers used their phones to research goods they were considering buying from physical stores. If you are a physical store and don’t have a website, this is a good reason to consider getting one.
- Social media is a great way to get discovered
For those wanting to promote their website and their brand, social media continues to be one of the best communication channels to use. There was a 21% rise in active social media users from 2016 to 2017, bringing the total number to almost 2.8 billion. Facebook dominates the social media landscape with over two billion people using the site every month. However, a quarter of all adults (700 million) regularly use Instagram and there are over 300 million active Twitter users.
Social media is important for e-commerce businesses as it has a significant influence on online shoppers, affecting the purchasing decisions of around 23% of them. Indeed, a third of shoppers are prepared to buy directly from a social media site. Perhaps this is why we are seeing an increase in social media advertising. It is forecast that by next year, businesses will, for the first time, spend more on social media ads than on newspaper ads.
Internet advertising, in general, is on the increase. 2017 saw companies spend more on internet advertising than on TV ads. This was another first.
We’ve filled this post with lots of facts about the internet to give website owners a sense of how significant this form of technology is. It reaches half the world’s population and in developed countries, like the UK, it is accessible by over 81% of people. For companies just starting out, a website offers huge potential to start a successful online business. There is no other technology that can get your products or services seen by such enormous numbers of people.