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Source: CyberAtlas

Posted on December 10, 2002

      Internet usage has shifted from routine to essential, according to findings from Ipsos-Reid that demonstrate an increasing reliance on the medium worldwide. Interviews with more than 6,600 adults in 12 countries indicate that the United States has the highest incidence of Internet usage with 72 percent of the population going online once within the previous 30 days.

      "The Internet is in advanced stages of growth in the U.S. and is becoming a necessity to many of the few adult Americans who had resisted going online before," said Brian Cruikshank of Ipsos-Reid.

      The 72 percent figure represents significant growth for the U.S. since Ipsos- Reid last reported a steadiness at 59 percent in both 1999 and 2000, as well as Harris Interactive's measurement of 64 percent in 2001.

      Cruikshank comments on how pervasive the Internet is in America: "Because it's all around us, being used in so many ways -- from communications to transactions to entertainment -- it's become a central way that we navigate our lives. Add to that increased broadband access along with peripheral devices such as digital cameras and MP3 Players that easily integrate with the home PC, and online users have even more ways to integrate Internet use into everyday life."

      Canada boasts the second highest Internet penetration rate with 62 percent of adults reporting that they have gone online at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. Ipsos-Reid measured the Canadian rate at 50 percent in 2000, and 56 percent in 1999.

      Trailing Canada is South Korea with 53 percent penetration in 2002 -- up from 45 percent in 2000 -- followed by the United Kingdom at 50 percent. The UK has shown the most significant increase, adding 15 percentage points from 2000's rate.

      Japan posted an increase, swelling from 33 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2002 , and Germany's Internet penetration grew from 29 percent to 43 percent in the past two years. Ipsos-Reid also measured gains since 2000 for Urban Mexico (up 4 points to 37 percent); France (up 7 points to 37 percent); Urban China (up 9 points to 30 percent); Urban Brazil (up 2 points to 24 percent); Urban India (up 10 points to 19 percent); and Urban Russia (up 2 points to 8 percent).

      "In markets such as South Korea, the United Kingdom and Japan, where approximately half of the adult population is going online, a critical mass of users is fast approaching the state reached in North America in the late 90s, when Internet use broke out into the mass market," noted Cruikshank.

      Not included in Ipsos-Reid's report is Australia, which Jupiter Research estimates a 42 percent penetration rate in 2002, with an expected increase to 55 percent penetration by 2005.

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