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What Happens In an Internet Minute? - 2017 vs 2021

In our everyday lives, not much typically happens in a one minute time period. But when assessing the depth of internet activity that can take place in that same time-frame, what happens can be astonishing.

In 2017, the average adult user spent an average of 5 hours and 54 minutes on the Internet. 24 Fast-forward to 2021, focusing on users aged 16 to 64, and this number increased to an average of 6 hours and 58 minutes across all devices. 15

In just 60 seconds, someone could be doing a combination of checking their email, posting on social media, chatting with a friend, or buying clothes online. And that's just a small snapshot of what one user could get up to in just one minute. Multiply that by the 4.95 billion people that use the Internet every day and that's a lot of data being generated, right? 16

We're going to dive into the statistics a little deeper in this article, as we explore just how much activity took place in an Internet minute in 2017 vs. 2021.

Data Never Sleeps

Here's What Happens Every Minute on The Internet

To understand this incredibly rapid pace of change, it's helpful to look at these amazing statistics about what happens in an Internet Minute. The chart below compares an Internet minute in 2017 vs. 2021, and the speed of change over just those four short years is phenomenal.

Internet Minute: This Is What Happened in 2017 vs 2021

Is There More Opportunity for Growth or Have Tech Companies Hit the Ceiling?

The leading Internet and technology companies saw substantial growth in revenues from 2017 to 2021. Revenues accelerated during the pandemic, as consumers increasingly turned to the Internet as their primary social, shopping and entertainment venue.

Over the next three years, however, analysts forecast far less exceptional growth for the top players in the industry. There are several factors at play. First, the opening of the world post-pandemic has shifted some of the focus away from online as people returned to in-person shopping, entertainment and the like. Additionally, in developed countries, Internet growth as a year over year percentage is less impressive now that so many existing users are already connected.

We've also seen market changes affect some of the leading players. Amazon has announced plans to close some warehouses and scrapped aggressive plans for expansion due to slowing sales. Facebook has been adversely affected by Apple's App Tracking Transparency privacy initiative, which could cost them $10 billion in advertising revenue.

There are bright spots in the market for the Internet and tech companies, however. Online gaming continues to show impressive growth. And among Internet content, video continues its meteoric rise. By 2022, it's projected that video Internet traffic will account for 82% of all Internet traffic, up from 73% in the year 2017. In 2022 an estimated 66 million minutes of video will be downloaded or streamed across the Internet every minute. 19

Company Revenue 2017 Revenue 2021 % Increase
Google $111.02 Billion $257.63 Billion 132.1%
Amazon $177.87 Billion $469.82 Billion 164.1%
Facebook $40.65 Billion $117.93 Billion 190.1%
Netflix $11.69 Billion $29.7.63 Billion 154.1%
Apple $228.57 Billion $365.82 Billion 60%
Microsoft $110.18 Billion $198.27 Billion 80%

(data from wsj.com)

Internet User Growth

In some areas of the world, Internet connectivity has reached a level of near saturation. July 2022 statistics show that in Europe, for example, 89.7% of the population is already online. 20 The majority of people who are still not connected to the Internet can be found in Africa and Easter and Southern Asia.

By the latter half of 2023, two-thirds of the people in the world will be connected to the Internet. New developments and disruptive technologies such as satellite low Earth orbit connectivity will provide for further user growth in currently underserved developing countries and rural areas. Increasing competition in the urban areas will also lead Internet companies to pursue less competitive rural markets.

With each year, Internet user growth will increase although at slower levels due to market saturation. In the not-too-distant future, we may reach the point of a fully wired planet, with everyone able to access the Internet and its plethora of applications and services.

Penetration

50.1%

Global Population 7.6 Billion 13

3.81
BILLION 15

Internet Users

2017

Penetration

61.3%

Global Population 8 Billion 13

4.95
BILLION 16

Internet Users

2022

Mobile Phone Connectivity

Most of the Internet users across the world use a mobile phone for online access at least part of the time. In total, 55.5 percent of the time spent online is attributable to mobile devices and they account for nearly 60% of the world's Internet traffic. 16 Perhaps, most importantly, the soaring growth in mobile phone use is accelerating the digital revolution and Internet connectivity across the globe.

Over two-thirds of the world's people use a mobile phone, and there are 5.34 billion “unique” users of these devices as of July 2022. 22 Because of this level of market penetration, it's expected that growth curves for new mobile users will begin to level out.

Forecasts call for a half billion new mobile phone subscribers and a billion new users of mobile Internet to be added to the mix by 2025. Most of these new users will be from currently underserved markets in Africa and Asia. 23

Apple Logo iPhones Sold

2017 vs 2022
% INCREASE

+10.9%
412M
IPHONES SOLD17
457M
IPHONES SOLD 18
0 100 200 300 400 500 (million)

World Smartphone Subcriptions

2017 vs 2022
% INCREASE

+41.1%
4.435B21
6.259B21
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (million)
2017
2022
Smartphone

Sources

  1. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/happens-internet-minute-2017/
  2. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/from-amazon-to-zoom-what-happens-in-an-internet-minute-in-2021/
  3. https://ir.aboutamazon.com/annual-reports-proxies-and-shareholder-letters/default.aspx
  4. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/happens-internet-minute-2017/
  5. https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/rtd/items/713444/en
  6. https://spotifyforartistswrapped.byspotify.com/
  7. https://www.statista.com/statistics/258743/daily-mobile-message-volume-of-whatsapp-messenger/
  8. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/whatsapp-statistics#:~:text=100%20billion%20messages%20are%20sent%20via%20WhatsApp%20every%20day.
  9. https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/2018/Facebook-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2017-Results/default.aspx
  10. https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/2022/Meta-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2021-Results/default.aspx
  11. https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/rtd/items/713444/en
  12. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/happens-internet-minute-2017/
  13. https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/world-population-prospects-the-2017-revision.html
  14. https://www.un.org/development/desa/pd/sites/www.un.org.development.desa.pd/files/wpp2022_summary_of_results.pdf
  15. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2017-global-digital-overview
  16. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-global-overview-report
  17. https://www.statista.com/statistics/276306/global-apple-iphone-sales-since-fiscal-year-2007/
  18. https://earthweb.com/how-many-iphones-were-sold/
  19. https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights/pdf/Global_Device_Growth_Traffic_Profiles.pdf
  20. https://www.internetworldstats.com/stats4.htm
  21. https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
  22. https://datareportal.com/global-digital-overview
  23. https://www.lightreading.com/4g3gwifi/gsma-1-billion-more-mobile-internet-users-by-2025-/d/d-id/770560
  24. https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018

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