By 2018, the worldwide web will be a busy place indeed.
New research suggests that the number of internet users globally will be more than 3 billion in 2015, an increase of 6.2 percent in the coming year.
About half the world’s population, or 3.6 billion people, will access the internet at least once each month by 2018.
“Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are driving internet access and usage in countries where fixed internet has been out of reach for consumers, whether that’s due to lack of infrastructure or affordability,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.
“While highly developed markets are nearly saturated in terms of internet users, there’s significant room for growth in emerging ones; for example, India and Indonesia will both see double-digit growth in each year between now and 2018,” Peart adds.
Interestingly, the research indicates the U.S. will lose its number two ranking to India by 2016. China, of course, will retain the top spot, boasting steady growth year over year to three quarters of a billion users by 2018.
Other countries will make moves. Brazil is currently on track to best Japan as the fourth largest internet market, and by 2015 Mexico could eclipse Germany.
And by sheer population numbers and mobile ownership alone, Indonesia could reach the top five by 2017.