Why Internet Usage Will Continue to Soar, Plunkett’s Law of Online Consumers

Published: March 15, 2017.

Dollars & Details:

Ecommerce now accounts for $2 trillion in annual sales via the internet. Smartphones are now really SMART and basic models are reasonably affordable, providing always-on, always-with-you access to the many wonders of the electronic web. More than 50% of the world’s households have access to the Internet, and 50% of the world’s inhabitants have access to smartphones. It might be easy for you to think that the internet and its uses have hit a plateau and that it will be hard to achieve major advancements from here.

Not so fast! In the late 1990s, our CEO Jack Plunkett was making a speech to a group of analysts and researchers in Austin, Texas about the future of the internet, which he described as ready to rocket ahead. A member of the audience was unconvinced and asked, “Why would the soaring growth in the number of internet users and the time they spend online continue?’ Plunkett responded on-the-spot by writing this rule on the whiteboard:.

“Online activity grows exponentially as broadband access prices decline, access speed increases and wireless devices are adopted. This leads to increased offerings of enhanced online services and entertainment at more reasonable prices.”

Put another way: We’re still at the beginning of the internet revolution, and big things are about to happen!

Trends and Theories:

Consider a few current trends and the effect they will have on internet usage:

  • Apple : the iPhone is only now reaching its 10-year anniversary, and the 1 billionth iphone was sold a few months ago in July 2016.

  • 5G Wireless : In the early 2020’s, you’ll be able to download full-length movies to your wireless device nearly instantly, thanks to the upcoming global 5G speeds.

  • Satellite : Hughes Network Systems is about to launch the Gen5 satellite access system with blazing 25-meg download speeds and 3-meg upload. This means that millions of people living in remote areas, with no cable and very slow telephone, will be able to get world class internet access, for only $50 per month!

  • Netflix : 23% of all adults in US homes stream Netflix movies online daily. Not long ago, the only way you could get a movie from Netflix was via a DVD in the mail!

  • Learning Online : Online education provider Coursera now offers 1,837 different college-level and business training courses online to a user base of 22 million worldwide. IT’s adding 60,000 students per month in India alone. Not long ago, this level of education didn’t even exist online.


Ranks and Results:




All the information you need about the global wireless industry can be found at Plunkett Research, including our Computers Industry research center online , and our just-published, completely-updated Plunkett’s InfoTech Industry Almanac , 2017 edition.