Despite the rapid rise in the number of people online, there are still significant differences between the richest countries and the rest of the world, as reported by World Economic Forum.
The Pew Research Centre found that in 2013, a median of 45% across 21 emerging and developing countries reported using the Internet at least occasionally or owning a smartphone. In 2015, that figure rose to 54%, with much of that increase coming from large emerging economies such as Malaysia, Brazil and China.
By comparison, a median of 87% use the Internet across 11 advanced economies surveyed in 2015. This represents a 33-percentage-point gap compared with emerging and developing nations.
But smartphone ownership rates in emerging and developing nations are rising at an extraordinary rate, climbing from a median of 21% in 2013 to 37% in 2015. That’s nearly a doubling of the smartphone penetration rate during that two-year period.
The gap between the richest countries and the rest of the world is closing but it still has a long way to go.