The State of the Internet in 2022

We all use the internet in some way shape or form, but did you know that there’s still a third of the planet that doesn’t have internet access?  That blew my mind!  

Even though we’re all feeling anxious and there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in the world – around the inflation or the looming fears of recession – I think that we do have a lot of reasons to be really excited and we’re gonna cover that off together today.  We’re gonna talk about some key internet statistics from 2022, where are the trends going, what have we seen over the last 20 years and what are some of the key things that you need to be aware of for an internet business or just a business at large.

How Many People Use the Internet in 2022?

Some of the key statistics that I found really interesting about the internet in 2022 was that with 8 billion people now on planet earth we still only have around 5.6 billion people who have access to the internet.  

How much do we take the internet for granted in our lives? If you’re like me it’s way too much!  I use it probably 12 hours a day plus.  Whether it’s social media catching up on emails, watching videos or doing work – all my work is based online and I work a hundred percent remote. 

It’s staggering to think that there’s still a third of the planet – a third of humanity – that doesn’t have access to the internet as of 2022.  From the year 2000 through to 2020, the amount of people getting access to the internet has grown by 1300%. We’ve seen a huge amount of growth; 10x times the growth since the year 2000 alone!  

Just think about it in our lifetimes, we’ve seen a fundamental revolution in terms of how we communicate, how we do business, how we share our lives and for better or worse, this is the age that we live in.  The age of information (or disinformation).  

Who Has The Highest Numbers of Internet Usage?

Not surprising, North America has the highest number of internet usage, with 93% of North Americans having access to the internet.  Europe’s not too far behind with 88% of their population having access to the internet.

The fastest growing populations though are the middle east and Africa who are seeing record amounts of growth in terms of their access to the internet.  I would bet big that things are gonna change rapidly within the next two years; I predict the entire world will get access to the internet. I think that’s gonna have huge benefits for the entire planet and I think it’s really gonna change things in an exciting way.

What Are Some Notable Internet Trends?

In the last year a trend that we’ve seen continue is mobile usage.  54% of all traffic in 2021 was based off a mobile device and that’s going up!  When we compare that to just 2009 where less than 1% of all internet traffic was from a mobile device, the growth of mobile internet traffic has exploded.  You’ve got literally half of the internet being mobile based now, insane!  We’re seeing more and more people connecting to the internet using mobile phones.

I’m gonna take an educated guess and say that as third world countries get more access to the internet, most users will be based on mobile phones.  It doesn’t make sense for them to have a laptop or a computer to add those costs to accessing the internet.  Phones can do pretty much everything these days, if not more.  I think that in third world countries we’re gonna see most users being solely based on a mobile device.  

What does this mean for online businesses?  it means that your website needs to be mobile first, if it wasn’t already. You also need to be thinking about what types of apps and what types of channels are people going to be based on with mobile devices; most likely social media, mobile shopping and 

The Internet Dominance of Google 

One thing that I think is kind of cool (and kind of scary) is how dominant Google is in this world of ours. Not only do they get 93% of all search traffic, but they also have Google Chrome as the browser most users prefer.  Google Chrome accounts for about 63% of internet users – that’s two thirds of all internet traffic using Google Chrome . They have access to all of the websites that you’re visiting, they have all access to know what extensions you’re using and they know a lot about us through Google Search, YouTube, Gmail and more.  Which is kind of scary, but that is the power of Google right?  If you’re not doing Google ads, you might wanna check out my podcast talking about Google performance max and Google ads because they are the monolithic internet company, 

And they have so much information about us. There’s obviously a very scary conversation to be had – what are they doing with this data?  Who are they selling it to?  Google is selling a profile about me to advertisers so I can get more targeted ads that are actually relevant to me.  On one hand, I think it’s kind of good and I would much rather see ads that are relevant to me that I might enjoy.  However, the other side is that one company shouldn’t have so much power, control and insights into the world population.

Top Websites of the Internet

The next section that I want to talk about is what are the top websites in the world. There’s probably no surprise that Number one It’s everybody uses Google.  Since 93% of searches online are using Google, something like 3 billion searches a day are happening on Google – That’s like 40,000 a second – It’s now the top website in the world.  

Knowing the top 10 websites in the world is good to know because you want to know where your customers are based, that’s at least how I think!  So Google is number one, YouTube is number two.  Both of those are Google companies.  Number three is Facebook. 

Number four is Twitter – I was surprised by that because I thought Twitter with its 200 million to 300 million users (depends on how many bots they have, right Elon?).  I didn’t think that Twitter would have that much traffic but it just seems like the type of usage people use it frequently and must still use the web version.  it makes sense that it would be one of the most visited websites in the world. 

The next top website at number 5 was Instagram.  Instagram has close to 2 billion monthly active users, so it doesn’t blow my mind that Instagram would be in the top 10.

The next five most popular websites I’m just going to list off really quickly.  We have Baidu, a Chinese based search engine, Wikipedia, Yandex, which is Russia’s Google equivalent.  Then we have Yahoo and the last one was one that I hadn’t heard of was X videos.  Those are the top 10 websites in the world as of 2022!

How Many Websites Are There On The Internet?

In terms of the number of websites that currently exist online, there are 370 million registered domain names.  There are definitely more websites out there – billions of websites – however these are domain names that are currently registered with ICANN.

ICAN is the centralised service that keeps a record of all domains.  In terms of the 370 million websites running, over a third of these are using WordPress for their Content Management System (CMS).  WordPress is the world’s biggest open source website management system which you can use to upload to your server to help manage your website easily.  And it’s free which is pretty cool!  As long as you have a server, people can access your free website online using WordPress.  How cool is that? 

So as of 2022, WordPress has 127 million websites using its software. That is amazing. I’m a big advocate for WordPress and have been developing websites using WordPress for over a decade myself.   I also love Shopify, but WordPress is open source which means it has a community around the world contributing to new features improvements and nobody owns it. It’s actually free to use and it’s community run.  I think that in its essence is kind of where the internet needs to go – we should all have open access to the source code and help contribute to the development of the platforms we use.

I know that I said before that there are 370 million domains currently registered, but there are in fact billions of different websites!  How can that happen if there are 370 million domain names?  Well, there’s platforms that allow users to set up their own websites for services like blogging or for writers or social media profiles that technically are counted as websites.  If we factor in all subdomains from platforms like blogger, medium, tumblr then we actually have 1.9 billion websites on the internet right now.  That’s insane!  

If there’s 5.6 billion people in the world, almost a third of those have their own website.  The caveat there is that only maybe less than 10% of the active internet users have a registered domain name. Interestingly, it looks like a third of people have some form of publishing blog but you know they might not necessarily have Taken that to the next level, let’s say.

How Many People Are Using Social Media Platforms?

I talked about what the top websites based on traffic were, but what are the top apps and social media platforms?  

Number one is Facebook. Facebook has currently 2.7 billion monthly active users making it the largest and most commonly used social media platform in the world.  Facebook has had a really tough year.  It’s made a lot of maybe poor decisions focused on the metaverse and not on its core products.  Furthermore, it’s been incredibly buggy, people are getting over it, and there’s a lot of privacy concerns that people have voiced.  But the thing is it’s still the most commonly used social media platform in the world.  It’s also where our grandparents are, so it’s still good to be there. 

The second most common social media platform is YouTube with a staggering 2 billion monthly active users.  Now if you’re watching this on YouTube you’re probably not surprised. But if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re not a big YouTube user, then this is for you.  YouTube is super relevant. It’s still very very popular and it’s growing because most of the social media platforms don’t focus on long form content in a searchable format. 

YouTube excels where Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are not.  These other platforms are all going video first, but they’re still kind of feeding you your videos based on their algorithms, not necessarily the content that you want to see. YouTube does both – allows you to search their video platform as well as feed you content based on its algorithm.  YouTube has become the Google of video.  It’s becoming the place where people will go to research topics and learn.  If I’m researching the latest tactics or trends on TikTok, or Instagram I’ll go to YouTube.  I’ll subscribe to my favourite podcasts on YouTube.  

YouTube has monetised the platform incredibly well to incentivise content creators as well as draw in advertisers.  Any business who wants to get out there and build up their brand YouTube is the place to be!  That’s hopefully where you’re seeing me too, Hello!

Now the third most popular social media platform really surprised me.  I thought it’d be TikTok or Instagram, but it’s Facebook messenger!  Even though it is unencrypted (they’re scanning all your messages to target you with ads) it is the third most popular social media platform and the most popular messaging app in the world.  Facebook Messenger has had 5 billion downloads on the Google play store alone and it has 1.3 billion monthly active users. You can see why Facebook or Meta are one of the biggest technology companies in the world.  Especially when you look at Instagram as well which has 1.3 billion monthly active users, plus they’ve got messenger, they’ve got WhatsApp and they’ve got Oculus.   They’ve got a lot of different platforms that we all live our lives on.

The next most popular app was LinkedIn, surprisingly!  I thought TikTok would probably be at the top of the list here but it seems that LinkedIn is actually making a resurgence.  They’ve really focused on being a social media platform rather than just a business to business type of networking platform, and you can see that in terms of their algorithm Feeding content a lot better.  They have just under a billion monthly active users.  

TikTok comes in at the next place with 700 million monthly active users.  They do have well over a billion users but it seems that it’s maybe not as active? I’m interested to look into this a bit more because I thought TikTok was on this meteoric rise and it’s a really cool app but Instagram seems to have made a huge play for TikTok based Instagram reels and perhaps people have flocked back to Instagram? 

Now the next two social media platforms are Twitter and Snapchat both having around half a billion or Monthly active users.  I know Elon’s been talking a lot about bots and how do they actually get this information?  Let’s take it with a grain of salt.  A lot of these statistics are reported through monitoring tools that can be tricked by bot traffic, though they are pretty clever and are being improved all the time.

The total number of Social Media Users in 2022

In terms of social media use there’s 5.6 billion people connected to the internet. How many of those are using social media?  There’s 4.5 billion social media users in the world currently in 2022.  Whereas 70% of Americans use Facebook, less than 35% of people under the age of 30 are actually using Facebook regularly.  The average American uses Facebook for about an hour a day, and the average session time will be around 10 to 12 minutes. Facebook’s no longer the place just to kind of stay connected with friends and family.  A lot of people are using this to find businesses products and services now and click on ads.  The average person is clicking on around 12 ads a month as well on Facebook ads.  It’s still very relevant to be advertising on Facebook considering there’s so many people with 3 billion monthly active users. That is a huge amount of people – that’s half of the world’s internet population!  You can see why even though Facebook is not making the best decisions recently and things are kind of going a bit sideways, they are still super relevant for anyone marketing or advertising online. 

It seems like Instagram is almost more popular internationally than Facebook and other apps. One thing I found really insightful was that for all of the Instagram users in the world, 80% of those are outside of the US.  I could see a potential future where Instagram starts incorporating a lot of Facebook features, because so many users on Instagram are outside of the US.  In a single day on Instagram there are 4.2 billion likes, roughly a hundred million new posts and even 400 million stories.  Instagram users are sharing stories so that it’s not necessarily showing up on their Instagram profile. 

Video Usage Consume?

Video has risen so much over the last few years, and it’s only going to continue.  With faster connection to the internet thanks to 5G and Starlink coming just around the corner, I think that we’re gonna see video being the most popular communication method. 

I already explained that Instagram and TikTok and even Facebook are going video first but YouTube still is the king of the castle.  Netflix has 150 million monthly active users and look there’s a lot of other streaming platforms coming out.  It’s gonna be interesting to see who kind of grabs market share over these next few years.  You can see why YouTube is so powerful; YouTube allows you to stream movies, stream shows but it also has this huge engine of content creators pumping out billions of videos for people to watch.  Add to this, YouTube has tied in advertising really really well, unlike other streaming platforms, giving them a huge revenue stream others don’t have.  YouTube is a powerhouse for revenue earned for Google and I don’t see it going anywhere.  I think they’re gonna push a lot of that money back into further development and creator incentives. 

In terms of video usage, 45% of people watch an hour of video a day online.  YouTube has the highest trust with internet users as well with 40% of millennials voting that they trust content from YouTube.  A staggering 60% of millennials said that videos on YouTube have helped shape or change their worldview which to me is kind of scary in terms of where it could take society!

eCommerce and Online Shopping Trends

When it comes to online shopping there are some countries that really stand out.  China is the world’s biggest online shopping country with 1 billion people using online shopping each year.  China has built this into social media really well but we’re now seeing Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok copying suits with Instagram shops and Facebook shops.  Brands can tag their products and tag services in posts and sell online. It’s really becoming omnipresent in the social world online.

The second biggest country is the United States.  The United States has 260 million people who shop online every year.  The next few countries that are the top countries for online shopping are Brazil with 120 million people, Germany with 64 million people per year, Mexico with 60 million people per year shopping online.  Lastly, the United Kingdom with 53 million people shopping online every year.  

I have no doubt that other countries are gonna start getting into ecommerce very soon as well.  India is one that I’m predicting to be a huge ecommerce user in the near future.  Any high population countries will start shopping more online, countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan. There are so many other countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East that have huge populations and are still kind of in their infancy online.  

The Future of the Internet Beyond 2022

How are things gonna change in the future?  I predict in the next two years that we’re gonna see the last third of the planet get online. Why is that? Well, Starlink has launched their own global internet network.  As an internet service provider, Starlink has a series of 20,000 satellites providing high speed internet services to anyone on the planet.  They’re already up to 4,000 satellites out of this constellation and they’re giving access to anywhere on the planet with a high speed internet that is faster than Australia’s.  Starlink is already being launched in 40 countries as of today.  40 countries now out of the 200 countries in the world already have access to the Starlink network and they’re saying that by the end of 2023 it should be the entire world.  That means that we’re gonna see internet access for the first time in the entire world.   An extra two to 3 billion people coming online in the next year.  That is exciting!

That means these statistics are only just the beginning of what’s coming.  If you don’t have a business online, or your business isn’t online, or you’re just wanting to look at how you could start a business online, now’s the time to do it because it is about to get crazy good in the near future. 

Further to that there are some revolutionary new technologies that are taking leaps into mainstream adoption; blockchain technology & cryptocurrencies are completely changing the landscape of traditional finance, Artificial intelligence and machine learning are disrupting every digital sector imaginable – and all of these things that are making it easier, better, faster and cheaper for business owners to thrive online. 

In Conclusion

We know that Google is the powerhouse of the internet.  We know that Facebook is also still the king of the castle when it comes to social media because they own and control Facebook, Instagram, messenger and WhatsApp.  Meta owns the top four apps in the world! 

When it comes to social media, we know that video is emerging and we know that search is still very relevant for how people find things online.  The last thing to say is that eCommerce has grown exponentially during the pandemic and we’re now seeing around $5 trillion a year going through eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce and more we’re seeing a huge emergence of online shopping. It’s only going to get more and more as time goes on.

$5 trillion sounds like a lot but when you look at the entire global retail trade, It’s still only 20% of the retail revenue that we see each year.  With only 20% of the market, eCommerce still has a huge growth potential and I would dare say that if you’re not selling your products and services online, don’t worry!  You haven’t missed the boat.

If all of this gets you excited and eager to really invest in your brand online, why not book in a free 30 minute consultation with me?  I’m a digital strategist that loves talking about how businesses and brands can scale online and monetise further.

Thanks for reading and please make sure to subscribe to our podcast on any good podcast app (Spotify, Google Podcasts or Apple iTunes), or to our YouTube channel to stay in the loop on future episodes and geeky topics like this.

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