by CIO Staff

One Billion on the Internet

Dec 20, 20051 min

The one billionth user of the Internet went online sometime in 2005. Although there’s no way of knowing who that person is, since no central registry of Internet users exists, statistically speaking it’s likely that it was a 24-year-old woman in China, according to Internet usability guru Jakob Nielsen.

Worldwide Internet usage has grown 19 percent per year since 2002, which is a little slower than the peak growth of the late 1990s. The one billion number signifies the reach of the Internet into daily life. “Ten years ago, the ’net was mostly used by geeks; now it’s the default way to do business in many countries. In our U.S. and European B2B studies, many business professionals said they visit a company’s website as the first step in researching potential vendors,” writes Nielsen. 

For e-commerce to keep pace with Internet growth, websites must follow common usability guidelines, Nielsen avers. That’s because the gap between elite and mainstream users of the Web is widening. An equally important consideration for e-commerce is the internationalization of the Internet. Currently, 36% of Internet users are in Asia, 24% in Europe, and only 23% in North America—where the Internet started in 1969.

–Edward Prewitt