The global population is made up of two halves—those who access the internet and those who do not. This divide is underscored by internet user penetration worldwide, which will reach 50% in 2019.
There is a gap in digital maturity between advanced economies and developing markets. Internet penetration rates in digitally robust markets in Western Europe and North America hover around 80%. Meanwhile, in less developed parts of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, penetration is well below 50%.
A majority of the growth in internet user numbers will take place in Asia-Pacific in 2018. Of the 182.2 million new internet users worldwide this year, we forecast that 42.4 million will reside in China and 54.2 million in India. Over the next few years, markets like India will close the gap in digital maturity, while the Middle East and Africa will continue to lag.