12 years of the Internet 2007 vs 2019

If you didn’t know already, Clicky turned 12 this month, and to continue the celebrations we’ve gone back in time to 2007 to discover how the internet has changed over the past 12 years!

Internet Users

Did you know in 2007, exactly 12 years ago there were only 1.173 billion internet users worldwide, now today in 2019 it has been recorded that there are 4.388 billion internet users – a significant increase. As you will know from your own internet habits, more likely than not, you will be on the internet every day if not every hour, our lifestyles continuously revolve around the use of internet whether we are connecting with people close to us or far away, sharing information, (files, videos and photos), buying & searching online, the list could go on.

How has the Internet developed over time?  

Over the past 12 years, the internet has evolved and changed rapidly due to the introduction of WIFI, 3G, Fibre Optic and soon approaching G fast. With all these introductions the internet has become far more efficient with speed, the ability to be connected all the time and the volume of data that can be transferred. During the early 2000s the first shift of the internet began whereby Broadband replaced dial-up, and by 2017 half of all internet users possessed a broadband connection. As the smartphone was released and came more popular 2G, 3G and 4g began to emerge helping to develop the overall internet speed. It became apparent that users were constantly looking for speed and efficiency when using the internet, this caused the next evolutions of connectivity where Fibre Optic Broadband was released. We’ve brought you up to where the internet is today, with the discussion of the next generation G-Fast launching soon, which is even faster than Broadband.

Demographics

During the year of 2007, it was reported that two-thirds of the English population were online, but who exactly were these individuals? Predominantly we can recognise the younger generation being more present online over the older generation specifically those aged 65 and over, it has been reported that 90% of all 16-24 years olds were online compared to only 25% of over 65s. Even though less of the older generation are visible online, older men are much more likely to be connected than women. The same is not applied in the 16-24 age bracket, whereby men and women use the internet equally. 

So how has the demographic internet usage changed over 12 years? The younger generation is still taking the Internet by storm, with virtually all adults aged 16 to 44 using the internet in 2019, that’s 99% of the entire population. Internet usage by the older generation has also continued to grow over time with 65 to 74 years age group increased from 52% in 2011 to 83% in 2019, significantly closing the gap between the younger age group. More and more of the older generation are becoming far more comfortable and familiar when using the internet.  Amongst the older demographic we still see a higher proportion of men online than we do of women 54% of men aged 75 and over were recent internet users compared to only 41% of women in this age group.

Time spent online

Not only has the number of internet users increased so has the duration of time we spend online, as we spend more and more hours of the day connected to the internet. All in all, we’re spending on average 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day in 2019, in comparison to spending 6 hours and 10 minutes online in 2014. This doesn’t necessarily seem like a big increase, but to put this into perspective we are ultimately connected to the internet for 94 days of the year. Which is a large proportion of the time? With many internet users confessing that they do spend too much time online, and would feel lost if they were unable to be connected.  

Social media

The internet is used above and beyond within our work and home lives, in 2019 we recognise the two most common uses of the internet to be social networking and communication. With two-fifths of people (41%) of individuals saying that being online enables them to work more flexibly and three quarters (74%) of individuals admitting that it keeps them close to friends and family that they don’t initially see every day. Continually evolving the way we interact and communicate with others.

Even the types of social media platforms that we engage with have altered significantly over time, the most common types used in 2019 are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat & LinkedIn. This is ultimately what we think of when we hear the words social media and more often than not we all will have an account to one of these platforms if not all. These platforms haven’t always taken centre stage, take a look at the timeline below to see the evolution of platforms. 

Device

The internet can be accessed from a range of different devices in 2019, these being Desktops, Laptops, Mobile phones, Tablets and so forth. It hasn’t always been this way prior to 2008 smartphones weren’t as common and readily available, due to this circumstance the predominant way individuals would be connected to the internet was via a desktop computer. Times have changed quite drastically with the majority (62%) of time spent on the internet, was on a mobile device in 2018. The same applies for those scrolling & posting on social media, to put this into context we can see that there has been a dramatic increase since 2014 whereby there were only 862 million mobile social media users in comparison to 3,256 million users this year. This is due to almost everyone owning and using a smartphone, that has internet so readily whether this is connected wifi or the use of mobile data.

Online vs in-store sales

As we know the internet provides a range of opportunities whereby we as users can be entertained, educated and purchase pretty much anything online. The use of the internet has not only shaped our day to day lives but has truly influenced the way we buy and sell tremendously. This doesn’t seem to be a trend that is slowing down, in 2007 alone internet sales made up 3.3% of total retail sales that year, whereby in 2019 this has increased significantly with 18.6% of retail sales coming from people buying online.

Concluding that online spending is increasing every year overtime as we continue to shift our spending habits, here are just some of the reasons why individuals prefer to shop online rather than in stores: 

  • The ability to shop wherever/ whenever 24/7. 
  • To compare prices between different shops and products at a click of a button. 
  • Cheaper prices.
  • Saves times and provides much more convenient shopping. 
  • More variety and selections when choosing products.  

What will the use of the internet be like in the forthcoming 12 years, will our behaviours, attitudes, favourite social meeting platforms and the devices we use to access the internet be shaped and changed over time? It will be interesting to see if we become even more dependent on the internet than we are today, it is reported that on average UK internet users require a constant connection to the internet and are checking their smartphone every 12 minutes! 

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Written by Sascha Richards

Marketing and Research Assistant