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Box 5 Internet statistics

Unless otherwise stated, all the statistics in this box pertain to the year 2012.

Number of Internet users

Of the 3 billion Internet users in the world in 2014, 46 percent were located in Asia and 19 percent in Europe. The remaining users were in North America (10 percent), Latin America/the Caribbean (11 percent), Africa (10 percent), the Middle East (4 percent) and Oceania/Australia (1 percent). Over 75 percent of the European population uses the Internet. In the US, the figure is 86 percent and in China approximately 46 percent. The top 3 Internet-using countries are China (approximately 650 million users), the US (280 million) and India (240 million Internet users),. In Europe, Germany holds first place with 68 million Internet users, followed by the UK with 55 million users.

Languages on the Internet

English is the most used language on the web (27 percent). Chinese comes second (23 percent), Spanish third (8 percent), Japanese fourth (5 percent) and Portuguese fifth (more than 4 percent). German and French are the runners up (almost 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively). It is expected that in the next few years, Chinese will become the most used Internet language. This means that companies that are internationally active in e-business can no longer just rely on English being the Internet language. They will have to be present on the web in several languages.

Main activities on the Internet

The main activity on the Internet is emailing. Over 2 billion people use email. Each year, more than 70 trillion emails are sent. Almost 90 percent of emails are spam (‘junk mail’). There are over 4 billion email accounts, of which 25 percent are business accounts. Other main Internet activities are searching for information, watching the news, consulting online weather forecasts, researching a product or service before buying it, visiting the websites of brands or certain products, paying bills, watching video clips, using price comparison sites and listening to audio clips.


Google is by far the largest and most well-known search and advertising engine in the world. Google has become a household word and many international dictionaries now include ‘googling’ (‘searching for information on the Internet’). Approximately two thirds of the 200 billion searches carried out each month are performed using Google. Three quarters of the 3 billion Internet users access Google websites. In Europe, the number of unique monthly visitors to Google websites average approximately 300 million. Watch the video below for an interesting video on Google's history.