694 Million Use Internet: comScore

An estimated 694 million people 15 and older worldwide used the Internet in March, according to comScore Networks’ comScore World Metrix, the first estimate of global online audience size and behavior based on activity from the world’s largest online behavioral research panel.

This number represents 14 percent of the world’s population in this age group. The research, announced this month, excludes traffic from Internet cafes and access from mobile phones or PDAs.

ComScore, a Chicago-based traffic measurement firm known for its surveys of U.S. users, said the comScore World Metrix panel contains representation from countries that comprise 99 percent of the global Internet population. The monthly study seeks to balance the traditionally U.S.-centric art of Internet measurement, as market research data in the planet’s largest market is more widely available.

Notably, comScore World Metrix measures major Asian countries such as China, Japan, India and South Korea, which represent nearly 25 percent of the worldwide online population (168.1 million users), or 11 percent more than the U.S. total (152 million users).

“Today, the online audience in the U.S. represents less than a quarter of Internet users across the globe versus 10 years ago when it accounted for two-thirds of the global audience,” Peter Daboll, president/CEO of comScore Media Metrix, said in a statement.

ComScore also released the top 15 countries ranked by average hours online per visitor for March as a measure of engagement. Israel led the list, with the average user spending 57.5 hours online in the month, twice as long as the average U.S. user. The United States did not rank in the top 15. Others in the top five were Finland, South Korea, the Netherlands and Taiwan, all countries with high broadband penetration.

“These high engagement levels demonstrate the importance of global measurement and underscore the fact that the Web is certainly not just a U.S. phenomenon,” Mr. Daboll said.

ComScore also gave a sneak preview of the top 15 media properties worldwide, with MSN-Microsoft sites topping the list with 538.6 million global users, followed by Google (495.8 million) and Yahoo (480.2 million). Yahoo sites led all global properties in page views with 137.2 billion in March, followed by Google (108.7 billion page views) and MSN-Microsoft sites (96.2 billion). ComScore officially begins releasing World Metrix statistics with the issuance of May data in June.

Though the “big three” properties remain consistent among worldwide and U.S. audiences, Wikipedia has emerged as a site that continues to grow in popularity, both globally and in the United States, comScore said.

“Wikipedia’s popularity demonstrates the global power of the Web to unite and provide information across countries and languages, but the full extent of its global appeal is only measurable through this new worldwide measurement,” Mr. Daboll said.

Click here for additional chart: http://dmnews.netconcepts.com/cms/lib/6088.pdf

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