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Facts & Figures: World Wide Web Traffic Report

By Dave Pheteplace | May 05, 2014

So, how big is web traffic? The numbers in this world wide web traffic report are almost beyond comprehension.

Cisco estimates that in 2013, world wide web traffic reached an average monthly volume of 55.6 exabytes. One exabyte equals 1,000 petabytes. A petabyte equals 1,000 terabytes. Confused? These are incredibly large numbers! To give it some (limited) perspective, the digital version of all the books ever known to be written in all of the languages would require a storage capacity of (only) 480 terabytes according to Cisco. Nowadays, a common hard drive storage capacity on your desktop computer is one terabyte.

Total Internet traffic is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%. By 2018, IP traffic will triple on the world wide web. The following chart shows the total anticipated Internet traffic per month by type for the next five years.

Monthly IP traffic by network in Exabytes

The most rapidly growing IP traffic is in mobile data (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.). This sector is growing at a 66% CAGR or three times the rate of the entire Internet. Global mobile data traffic grew 81% in 2013 to 1.6 exabytes/month. By 2018, mobile data traffic will be more than 12 times its current size.

The following chart shows the total anticipated Internet traffic per month by region of the world for the next five years.

Monthly IP traffic by region in Exabytes

The Middle East and Africa are the fastest-growing regions. The CAGR of their IP traffic is 38%.

China and North America will create the same amount of web traffic in 2015, then China will move ahead in traffic generated. In 2015, the worldwide annual IP traffic volume will exceed one zettabyte (1000 exabytes) for the first time.

The following chart shows the number of Internet users worldwide for the last 10 years.

Number of internet users by year

Over the last 10 years, the CAGR of Internet users has been 11.7%. The first billion-users mark was reached in 2005 and the second billion-users mark was surpassed in 2010. Three billion will be exceeded in 2014. According to Internet Live Stats, the current number stands at greater than 2.95 billion users in April 2014.

With 2.95 billion users, each user is currently consuming an average of 25 gigabytes of data per month! As a point of comparison, in 2000, the average Internet user consumed only 264 megabytes of information, a 100X increase in consumption at current levels.

The final charts show the number of Internet users in the top 10 countries by size and the percentage of worldwide Internet users that each country represents.

Number of internet users by country July 2013

China is plainly the largest country with 642.3 million Internet users representing 23.3% of all Internet users worldwide. The United States, with less than half the number of Internet users as China, consumed more exabytes of data per month than China.

Connector Values Associated with the Internet

There are two primary market sectors where connector content related to the Internet reside, computer/peripheral and telecom/datacom. In 2014, the worldwide value of connectors in the computer/peripheral market sector is projected to be $8.3 billion and telecom/datacom is projected to be $10.7 billion.

Bishop Comments

  • Internet usage has been a driving force in electronics. As people extract more information from the web, it reinforces their drive to pull off even more. This further drives the growth of electronics for web access devices, data communications infrastructure, and web services (server farms, cloud storage, etc.).
  • Smartphones (and many cellphones) have been a game changer for Internet access. It has made the Internet and, therefore, knowledge accessible in most regions of the world, to lower socioeconomic groups than ever before, and to more than 40% of the total world population.
  • Video content has been a major factor in the increase in IP traffic over the last 10 years.

Dave Pheteplace, VP, Bishop & Associates, Inc.

Dave Pheteplace
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