Use of the internet among the G20 populations is forecast to rise substantially over the next four years; leading to a near-doubling in the value of the web economy in these countries from £1.5 trillion to £2.7 trillion, according to a new report.
The report, from the Boston Consulting Group, in conjunction with major search engine giant, Google, says the growth in the internet economy will be largely fuelled by the expected increase in mobile internet capability.
According to the report, first-time internet take-up is currently being secured by around 200 million people each year. The report estimates that this will lead to almost half the world’s population – three billion people – being online by 2016.
Access via a mobile handset, the report says, will account for 80% of internet users across the globe. The relatively low price of such smartphones is identified as being one of the main factors behind this anticipated growth.
The UK, the report says, is currently one of the leading countries for e-commerce. It will be the emerging economies, however, which are predicted by the report to experience the biggest rises in internet take-up by 2016.
China, for example, it says, will have 800 million web users – more than the USA, UK, France, Germany, and India combined.
The report also anticipates increased interactivity between businesses and customers through the internet; and the development of the ‘internet of things’, whereby inanimate devices such as cars and radiators are linked to the web.