When the internet was made public in 1991, it was very swiftly adopted. And as technology developed and its benefits became clear, more and more people moved to incorporate the online world into their daily lives. How many people use the internet today? The latest statistics show that the answer is 5.16 billion in 2023.

But to fully understand the impact of this number, we must put it into context. Let’s look at some statistics on global internet users.

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Number of internet users: 2013–2023 growth

The number of global internet users has been on the rise ever since the internet was adopted worldwide. 2023’s figure of 5.16 billion users marks a 1.9% year-over-year. Despite the rise, it actually marks the slowest growth rate in at least a decade.

The latest figures also show that the number of global internet users has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and is now more than two times the 2.53 billion there were in 2013. 

→ Click Here to Launch Your Online Business with Shopify

In 2014, the number of global internet users grew to 2.8 billion, a 10.5% surge, before breaching the three-billion mark a year later. It took all but three years to add another billion, with the number hitting 4 billion in 2018. 

Over the past decade, the biggest annual increase in the number of internet users came in 2015. That year, global internet users grew by 13.9%. From 2013 to 2023, the world added over 2.6 billion internet users, with an average annual growth rate of 7.4%.

Global internet users by region

Despite the widespread use of the internet across the globe, there are stark differences in its penetration rate across the different regions. Currently, the number of internet users represents around two-thirds of the total population worldwide. Internet use and penetration rates, however, are much higher in developed regions. 

In Europe and North America, more than 85% of the people living there are internet users. In fact, in the United States, more than 80% of adults say they go online every single day.

In contrast, just around one in four people in Middle and Eastern Africa use the internet. These are the regions with the lowest internet penetration rates. At 97.3%, Northern Europe has the highest internet penetration rate.

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Want to Learn More?