The G20’s internet economy is set to nearly double by 2016 reaching $4.2trn (£2.7trn), up from $2.3trn in 2010, according to research.
The biggest driver will be the number of internet users around the globe, rising from 1.9bn in 2010 to 3bn in 2016, about 45% of the world’s population, research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found.
The rise of emerging markets, popularity of mobile devices and growth of social media are compounding the economic impact of the internet. By 2016, mobile devices will account for around 80% of all broadband connections in the G20 nations, found the BCG in its Digital Manifesto report.
All businesses must “go digital” if they are to capitalise on the exponential growth of internet users over the next five years, said the BCG.
“No company or country can afford to ignore this development. Every business needs to go digital,” said David Dean, a co-author of the report and a senior partner at BCG. “The ‘new’ internet is no longer largely Western, accessed from your PC. It is now global, ubiquitous, and participatory,” he said.
Patrick Pichette, Google senior vice-president and chief financial officer, said of the research: “Understanding the economic potential of the web should be an urgent priority for leaders. The Digital Manifesto makes a powerful case for countries and companies to get online and reap the rewards of an age of data.”
Businesses in the UK with a strong internet presence grew by 4.1% each year from 2007 to 2010, about seven times faster than businesses with little or no web presence, while businesses in the US with a medium or high internet presence expect to grow by 17% over the next three years, compared with 12% for other companies, found the BCG.