As we begin the countdown to Christmas and the new year, it’s often interesting to reflect on the changes that have happened over the last twelve months. With this in mind, we’re giving over this post to looking at 12 fascinating facts about the internet that our customers will find thought-provoking before they leave the office and head home for the holidays.
1. Snowballing numbers of internet users
Every new internet user is a potential new customer and this year the numbers have continued to spiral by a million people every day. There are now over 366 million new internet users compared to the end of last year, taking the global total to 4.4 billion. That means a staggering 58% of the world’s population is now online. For those looking for new markets, the biggest growth has come from emerging African economies.
2. Merry Mobiles
Increasing numbers of people must have included a mobile phone on their Christmas list last year because there are now more unique mobile users than internet users, 5.1 billion. Of those, nearly 4 billion actively use their smartphone to access the internet. If your website isn’t yet mobile-friendly, that’s an awful lot of visitors you could be missing out on.
3. Tis the season to be online
If the average person sleeps for eight hours a day and works for eight hours a day, that only leaves eight hours for everything else. It’s quite mindboggling to think, therefore, that across the world, the average person spends 6 hours and 49 minutes online every day. That’s a lot of hours n the course of a year for your website to be discovered by new visitors.
4. Hark the video
Video has become the content of choice for users. Over 90% of them, 4 billion+ people, watch them every month online. While these are increasingly being accessed on social media, we are finding them posted almost everywhere. Indeed, YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing website is now the second most visited website after Google and the second most popular search engine after Google. If you’re not starting to make use of video for your business, its massive popularity should make you reconsider.
5. Silent night? Not any more
The phenomenal rise of Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana and the many other speech-recognition enabled devices means that typed searches are disappearing quicker than a box of Quality Street. In 2019, 40% of users used voice search every month to find information on the internet. Though voice search isn’t yet ready to become the default way for us to browse, its continued growth means website owners need to be aware of how these searches can impact their ranking.
6. The Christmas social
Christmas, a time to be sociable and where better, these days, than on social media. With more than 3.5 billion global users, most of them in the more affluent countries, there has never been a better time to make use of this highly influential channel. Facebook and YouTube are by far the dominant platforms with Instagram, Reddit and Twitter the nearest rivals. Perhaps of interest is the huge numbers of people using messenger/VOIP channels. WhatsApp and FB Messenger have more users than Instagram.
7. Gifts galore
Retail has had a tough time in 2019, with uncertainty over Brexit and the US-China trade sanctions having had an international impact. Despite this, eCommerce has continued to grow, with the annual spend increasing by 14%, as it has done year-on-year. Over 2.8 billion people shopped online last year, spending a total of £1.35 billion. This means the average consumer spends £482 per annum at online stores. If you’re a bricks and mortar store who hasn’t yet got a website – now’s definitely the time to create one.
8. Who’s doing well at the Christmas market?
While total online sales increased, some markets do better than others online. Despite Thomas Cook’s sleigh taking a tumble last year, online travel sales were the star on the eCommerce tree with a global spend of £570 million. The fashion and beauty sector was another big bauble with a £400 billion spend, a figure which accounted for 17% of total online sales. Other significant winners were electronics, food, furniture, music and video, DIY, hobbies and of course, toys.
9. Santa-speed websites
Google handed out their secret Santa presents to the fastest websites last year with the average loading speed of first page ranked sites coming in at 2 seconds or under. If you want to rank in 2023, you’ll need to get up to speed. It is worth it though – increasing loading time from eight to two seconds can increase conversion rates by 74%. It’s time, perhaps, to get out of shared hosting and upgrade to VPS.
10. SSLeigh bells ring
A 2019 study discovered that 84% of consumers will abandon a purchase if they discover you have a non-secure website. This is easily remedied by installing an SSL certificate that not only makes your site secure for customers but proudly advertises the fact by ensuring browsers display a secure green padlock icon next to your URL in the search bar. If Santa isn’t bringing you one, get one here.
11. Wrap up securely
While sources vary, it is estimated that, in 2019, between 60,000 and 90,000 websites were hacked every day, with millions of websites being scanned by hackers for vulnerabilities. At the same time, cyber defence companies discovered hundreds of new threats every minute. Make sure your website security remains robust and choose a web host that will help protect you.
12. Bumper Christmas
The average UK household will spend £840 on Christmas this year with an increasing proportion being bought online. In last year, the amount of offline Christmas shopping fell to £54.6 billion from £55.9. Internet shopping over the same period grew from £22.8 billion to £25.1 billion. So while bricks and mortar stores saw a 2.3% downturn in seasonal sales, eCommerce stores saw their revenues increase by over 10%.
Hopefully, this light-hearted post will have put you in a festive mood and enlightened you with some interesting and useful facts about the internet. From all of us here at WHUK, have a merry Christmas 2022.