The Interconnected World: Statistics on Internet Connectivity and Interaction

Last updated May 15, 2023

The internet has utterly transformed the nature of human interaction, fostering connections that span the globe. Yet, despite rapid advances, certain regions lag behind in internet usage and access. This article will delve into the nuanced landscape of global internet connectivity and the patterns of interaction it facilitates.

Those Left Behind: The Unconnected

Despite the ubiquity of the internet, a staggering 3 billion people worldwide remain unconnected as of 2022. A formidable challenge lies ahead: the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that US$ 428 billion is needed to bring the remaining 3 billion people online by 2030. The digital divide is particularly stark in low-income countries, where UNICEF reports show only 10% of girls and young women use the internet, compared to 22% of boys. Furthermore, girls in these countries have less access to digital skills services than boys.

Global Youth Internet Chart

The Web of Connections: The Connected

Every day of the past five years has seen an average of 640,000 people logging onto the internet for the first time.1 While the overall connection rates are 62% for women and 68% for men, a significant gap persists between urban and rural populations.2 Urban dwellers enjoy a 79% internet penetration rate, a stark contrast to the 46% rate found in rural areas. Young people are at the forefront of digital adoption, with 71% now connected.

The Infrastructure of Connectivity: Data and Technology

Data and technology usage patterns reveal some interesting trends. By March 2023, 58% of all website traffic came from mobile devices, with 92.3% of internet users accessing the web via their mobile phones.3 Geographically, Asia led the world in bandwidth consumption, outpacing Europe and the Americas combined. Despite the rise of wireless technology, 95% of global internet traffic is still transmitted through cables. On average, in 2021, 1 GB of data cost 11 USD globally.4

Global Bandwidth Chart

How We Consume and Interact Digitally

The nature of digital consumption and interaction varies widely. In 2021, there were 1.35 billion registered mobile money accounts with 518 million active.5

Global Mobile Money Accounts

People spent an average of 2.5 hours per day on social media, with usage rates varying dramatically from nearly 4 hours in Nigeria to less than an hour in Japan.6

  1. Nigeria: 03:58
  2. Ghana: 03:55
  3. Brazil: 03:44
  4. Philippines: 03:36
  5. Kenya: 03:28
  6. South Africa: 03:28
  7. Chile: 03:26
  8. Colombia: 03:23
  9. Indonesia: 03:16
  10. Argentina: 03:11

Hourly Social Media by Country Chart

Voice assistants are growing in popularity, with one in five people using them weekly to find information. However, in some countries like South Korea, voice assistant usage is as low as 5%.7

Voice Assistant Usage by Country Chart

  1. India: 25.2%
  2. USA: 24.8%
  3. Ghana: 24.5%
  4. China: 23.9%
  5. Italy: 22.2%
  6. Spain: 22.0%
  7. UK: 21.7%
  8. Mexico: 21.2%
  9. Brazil: 20.9%
  10. Turkey: 20.6%

The Digital Divide in Sharp Relief: The African Continent

The African continent, despite being the least connected, offers an interesting study in internet challenges. More than 90% of Africa's internet connections are mobile, with fixed broadband internet penetration at a mere 11.5%. Africa also has the highest proportion of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, at 69.13%. However, the continent displays a striking contrast between high coverage rates of over 90% in some areas and low adoption rates below 30% in others.8 Sudan stands out with the highest proportion of mobile internet traffic at 83.92%.

Correlation Coverage Mobile Africa Chart

While the internet's impact is profound and global, these statistics reveal a more complex picture. They underscore the disparities that persist and the challenges that lie ahead as we endeavor to bring everyone into the digital age.

Internet users

Source: World Bank