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Internet Usage Nears Plateau
By: MarkJ - 21 March, 2005 (12:54 PM)

The latest research from Nielsen//NetRatings highlights how Internet usage in the UK, USA, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden is beginning to flatten out. UK surfers currently spend an average of 11 hours and 20 minutes online per month:

Nielsen//NetRatings, the global standard for Internet audience measurement and analysis, reported today that the United States, along with other more mature Internet
markets, including Brazil, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and United Kingdom, have shown minimal to flat growth in Internet users’ time spent online at-home, forcing companies online to evolve their business to stimulate additional Web growth.

Nielsen//NetRatings found that easier growth opportunities exist in several emerging Internet markets, including Australia, France, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan, which experienced double-digit increases in time spent online at-home. The latest global research from Nielsen//NetRatings tracks the Web usage behavior of 12 countries worldwide, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the world’s Internet usage.

As the Internet has officially become an important part of our lives, the U.S. is primed for the next ‘big thing’ to spike Internet usage,” said Kaizad Gotla, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “There are many opportunities ahead for companies online, but if they just continue to do what they’re doing today, they’re only going to move sideways.

The easiest opportunities are in countries where Internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established. Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends for Internet companies in the future,” continued Gotla.

Nielsen//NetRatings found that Americans spend on average nearly 14 hours online each month, which is close to the worldwide average. Those living in Hong Kong surf the longest out of the 12 countries, averaging nearly 22 hours. On the lower end, Italians on average log eight hours online during the month.

The latest Nielsen//NetRatings global research shows that the majority of usage growth has come from increased frequency of access or user session growth. Australia, France, Hong Kong and Italy saw double-digit growth in the number of monthly user sessions. In comparison, the U.S. experienced no growth, second to last in the rankings.

Shifts in media consumption, steadily improving online offerings, and growing broadband penetration are likely factors in growing the number of online user sessions on a global basis,” said Gotla.

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