Mobile Internet Users To Top A Billion By 2013

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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People’s need of the Internet shows no sign of slowing, with an IDC report predicting that there will be one billion mobile Internet users in four years time

Research firm IDC believes there are currently more than 450 million mobile Internet users around the world, but it expects that figure to more than double over the next four years, to reach one billion by 2013.

China, the planet’s most populous country, followed by India and the United States, have the most Internet users, with 359 million currently online and 566 million expected by 2013.

In the United States, Internet users are expected to increase from 2009’s 261 million to 280 million in 2013. IDC described India’s Internet user base as “one of the fast growing,” and expects it to double by 2013.

Worldwide, the number of devices (PCs, mobile phones, video console, etc) that connected to the Internet in 2009 exceeded 1.6 billion. By 2013, IDC expects the number to rise to 2.7 billion.

And while the United States currently has the most total devices connected to the Internet, China has the most mobile online devices, at 85 million in 2009.

“The number of mobile devices with Internet access has simply exploded over the last several years,” said John Gantz, an IDC chief research officer, in a statement. “With a wealth of information and services available from almost anywhere, Internet-connected mobile devices are reshaping the way we go about our personal and professional lives.”

IDC reports that the most popular uses of the mobile Internet, currently, are visiting search engines, reading news and sports articles, downloading music and videos and sending and receiving emails and instant messages. Over the next four years, however, IDC expects the fastest-growing applications of the mobile web to include shopping, participating in online communities and blog creation – as well as, though to a lesser degree, accessing online business applications and corporate email accounts.

While in 2009, more than 624 million Internet users – both business and consumer – will make online purchases, tallying $8 trillion by 2013, IDC expects that figure to exceed $16 trillion.

In turn, worldwide spending on Internet advertising is also expectedly jump. Currently, IDC estimates that Internet advertising comprises 10 percent of all ad spending and will this year total nearly $61 billion. By 2013, it’s expected to exceed $100 billion (£61.6 billion) worldwide.

“With an explosion in applications for mobile devices underway, the next several years will witness another sea change in the way users interact with the Internet and further blur the lines between personal and professional,” said Gantz.