In the first part of the series, we looked specifically at the general use of Computing and the Internet, with the second part focusing on the audience breakdown for these questions. While some of the findings are as we had anticipated, we found several interesting results:
- Over 95 percent of respondents worldwide are frequent Internet users.
- Personal Computers are still the most widely used devices, with Smartphone use second.
- Nearly 93 percent of respondents use the Internet frequently for Entertainment, with those respondents having IT Responsibilities at work being the most frequent users.
- Those respondents with IT Responsibilities at work deem computing and the Internet significantly more important to themselves and their businesses than home users.
As a side note, I will be referring to “top box” and “bottom box” during the analysis, which refers to the Highest and Lowest in a grouping respectively. This mechanism offers a way to compare the items at the extremes to illustrate a point or supposition.
I introduced this breakdown of Internet use worldwide in the first installment and it got me thinking about some of the other questions as they relate to the differences between locations and audiences.
For example, the number of people going online is increasing, so it is interesting to understand the frequency at which people are going online around the world.
Around the world the frequency of usage use is reasonably consistent in that significantly more people use the Internet more than 10 times per day than any other frequency. However, we do see that some locations such as Australia and Brazil are significantly above the worldwide average.
If we define Frequent users “One or more times per day”, Infrequent users as “less than daily use” and Do not Use as those who do not use the Internet for the types of activities we defined in the question, we see a somewhat more uniform result. In this case nearly all (95 percent) of people we surveyed classified themselves as frequent Internet users.
Internet Usage Frequency around the world
When we start to look at Internet usage for Entertainment by location, we see regional variation. Locations such as Canada, Australia and Germany use the internet less frequently for entertainment than countries such as Brazil, Russia and China. Comparing the top box (Brazil) and bottom box (Germany) in terms of the locations with the largest amount of very high frequency users, we see that users in Brazil are not just more frequent users, but significantly above average. In Germany a greater number of people (1.4%) do not use the Internet for entertainment than average.
Internet for Entertainment Top box (Brazil) vs. Bottom box (Germany)
If we once again define Frequent Usage as “One or more times per day”, we see a different pattern emerge with Brazil, China and Russia being above the worldwide average and the Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom being significantly below.
Frequency of Internet use for Entertainment around the world
Previously we saw much less variance in the general use of the Internet (Email, document creation / management etc) compared to the Internet usage for Entertainment. However, what happens if we directly compare the locations for frequent use.
Comparison of Frequent Internet General use and Frequent Internet use for Entertainment
Now we start to see a pattern emerge. I am going to introduce another definition here; BRIC.
In economics, “BRIC” is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development. It is typically rendered as “the BRICs” or “the BRIC countries” or “the BRIC economies” or alternatively as the “Big Four”.
If we now look at the difference between the BRIC economies and the Others (such as Australia, Canada Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States), we start to see a clearer pattern.
We see that respondents in the BRIC economies are above average in Internet use for Entertainment, while the others are significantly below.
Earlier we discussed some regional variation in Internet adoption and the percentage of people using the Internet for entertainment. If we start to overlay the types of devices people are using frequently for entertainment purposes, we can see that while it is no surprise that most people are primarily using personal computers, in some locations such as China, there is significant use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for entertainment online. Also note that all of the devices for China are used significantly more frequently that the worldwide average, whereas Canada and Russia are significantly below across the board.
Frequent Internet for Entertainment Users by Device
Importance of Computing
During the survey, we asked about the relative importance of computing for personal and business use.
When you start looking at different locations, with an average of over 70 percent of those surveyed telling us that computing is important to them personally, a geographic breakdown shows some variance with Brazil and Australia significantly above the worldwide average.
Computing is Personally Important by Location
I do have to point out at this juncture as we discussed in the introduction, that when comparing opinions around the world, we find that in some cultures respondents are less inclined to provide negative responses to questions, therefore presenting a more positive perception. It is also possible that linguistic nuances may provide variance through translation and therefore impact the results.
Now, if we start to combine some of our earlier research, it is worth noting that with locations such as Canada and the United Kingdom respondents show a significant difference in opinion between audiences. With locations such as Brazil, Germany and India, there is little difference between the audiences as to their perception of how important computing is to them personally.
Computing is Personally Important by Location and Audience breakdown
Now that we have an idea that computing is important to the vast majority from a personal perspective, as the world businesses move online, how important is the Internet to businesses? The overwhelming majority of respondents view the Internet as very important to their business. However compared to the importance of computing for personal use, significantly more people consider the Internet on its own very important to their business. Across the countries surveyed Australia stood out with nearly 93 percent of respondents viewing the Internet as very important to their businesses.
Importance of the Internet to Businesses by Location
In this third part of the series, we looked specifically at the general use of Computing and the Internet with respect to location breakdown. While some of the findings are as we had anticipated, we found several interesting perspectives from the geographic drilldown:
- Over 95 percent of respondents worldwide are frequent Internet users, with BRIC economies significantly higher frequency Internet users for Entertainment that the worldwide average.
- Personal Computers are still the most widely used devices, with Smartphone use second, especially in China.
- Computing is deemed Very Important around the world, with the Internet being deemed Very Important to Business.
Make sure you keep watching the Microsoft Security Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/security for further analysis.
 Sources: Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database
 Wikipedia BRIC definition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRIC