A huge market
It is estimated that globally around 900m (15%) people have access to the internet, including 260m (36%) in Europe.
English is overwhelmingly (80%) the language of choice, and upper income groups represent a high proportion internet users.
Growth in Europe is rapid at 150% between 2000 and 2005. The non EU countries (whose population are increasingly affluent) achieved growth of 340%.
47% of EU citizens have access to internet.
Interestingly, two other groups have an increasingly high penetration of internet useage :
1)So called, silver surfers : the over 50's who have high incomes and free time to use the internet to advantage
2)Expat residents, who use the internet for surfing, family email, news from home and booking travel tickets.
Rapidly growing advertising medium
Global internet advertising is expected to exceed USD 100bn by 2008.
Broadband technology allows more effective advertising. In particular it allows more use of sound, graphics and videos.
Internet keyword search advertising (pay per click) is one of the fastest growing areas of internet advertising.
Digital TV is fragmenting the TV advertising market, making internet a more mainstream medium.
Tool of choice
Internet usage is changing the business model in many industries.
The travel business has been revolutionised by internet sales. Ryanair quote sales as being 98% via internet. They are currently carrying around 3m passengers per month.
A similar pattern has emerged for holiday accommodation. Low cost flights have reduced the number travelling by traditional package tours and increased direct bookings. Major players are increasingly internet based.
Property sales are increasingly dependent on internet activity.Google.com returns 850,000 references for the term Languedoc immobilier.
Making it work for me
Increasingly, internet will become the primary contact medium for businesses of all sizes. The key to future success will be the ability to attract enough targetted visitors to websites.
Global statistics source : http://www.internetworldstats.com