The “new” Internet is ubiquitous—it touches everything and is everywhere. In the G-20 countries, the Internet economy is expected to reach $4.2 trillion in 2016, up from $2.3 trillion in 2010. Over the same period, the Internet is expected to gain more than a billion new users, its reach extending to 45 percent of the world’s population. Consumers are reaping the largest benefits from the Internet economy—across the G-20, $1.3 trillion worth of goods was researched online in 2010 before being purchased offline.
The Internet’s center of gravity has shifted—on a number of fronts. There are already more mobile broadband connections than fixed, for example, and they’re growing four times faster. Moreover, the Internet is becoming a mainstream shopping channel, and smartphones are increasingly being used for e-commerce. Emerging markets are at the forefront of the new Internet, driving massive growth in users—China alone is expected to add the equivalent of more than the entire U.S. Internet population in five years.
Although we are still at the beginning of realizing the potential of the Internet, far-sighted companies and countries are already taking steps to build digital advantage.