Number of people using the Net rose 7% in 2003
Canadians have become the world's leading users of the Internet, according to a new survey.
Ipsos-Insight discovered that 71% of Canadian adults accessed the Internet in 2003, compared with 70% in South Korea, 68% in the United States and 65% in Japan. In 2002, U.S. adults were the most active with 72%, while Canada was second at 62% and South Korea at 53%.
Nilesh Modi, an analyst at Ipsos-Insight, said Canada and South Korea have jumped into the top-two spots based on factors such as availability and price. "Both of these countries are leading-edge economies and embracement of the Internet has accelerated in the past year," he said.
On a global basis, Ipsos-Insight's Face of the Web survey found the number of people using the Internet last year climbed more than 7%. This growth was mostly driven by users in urban China, Germany, Japan and South Korea, while there was steady growth in urban Russia and Western European countries. Growth in the U.S. market, however, stagnated due to its high saturation point.
"Any future growth in the number of unique users in mature markets is likely to occur in smaller increments, as a certain portion of the population will continue to have little or no need for the Internet," said Brian Cruikshank, the leader of the global research team and senior vice-president with Ipsos-Insight. "The strongest new user growth is coming from Western Europe and Asia."
The United States continues to have the most Internet users, with about 128 million people online. Japan has 56 million, Germany 39 million, Britain and South Korea 23 million, France 18 million and Canada 16 million.
While Canadians are enthusiastic about using the Internet, they have not shown as much interest in online shopping. Ipsos-Insight founded that e-commerce sales during the 2003 holiday season fell to $972-million, from $990-million in 2002, marking the second consecutive year-over-year decline.
In the United States, online holiday sales jumped 30% last year.
Mr. Modi said technology adoption does not necessarily lead to e-commerce activity.
"Where we may have seen a spike in growth in penetration rates, they may be driven by entertainment activity or work-related activity," he said.
"Even the early adopters when they first came on, they were hesitant to shop online. There was a learning curve they had to go through before they became well-versed consumers."