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Study Finds Global Internet Adoption Slowing

Global Internet adoption is showing signs of slowing, with many of the world�s leading Internet economies displaying modest year-over-year growth, according to Ipsos Insight.

During 2005, the global online population grew a modest 5 percent year-over-year, well short of the 20 percent growth rate observed in 2004. In addition, the number of individuals expecting to access the Internet in the next 12 months was about the same in 2005 as 2004, indicating prospects for growth in 2006 may be just as temperate.

The latest findings -- based on interviews in 12 key global markets with more than 6,500 adults, including 3,462 active Internet users -- reflect adoption possibilities of the Internet that few other technologies have shown in the past. Ipsos Insight, has been tracking global Internet developments since 1999.

Driving overall global Internet user growth in 2005 was Japan, which now accounts for roughly 75 million users. Japan also remains the world�s No.1 Internet-based economy, as nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) claim to have used the Internet in the past 30 days, while users averaged nearly 14 hours per week online. France witnessed the most significant year-over-year gains in Internet adoption among the 12 global markets tracked in the study: today, just over 60 percent of adults age 18 or older in France use the Internet regularly, representing more than a 12-point increase from 2004 (48 percent). However growth in adoption may be plateauing in North America, specifically in the U.S. and Canada, where prevalence of regular Internet usage in 2005 (71 percent and 72 percetn respectively) was essentially flat compared to 2004.

Still, both of these markets remain important players in the evolving global Internet economy, says Brian Cruikshank, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of the company's Technology & Communications practice: �Despite marginal increases in Internet user growth within North America, this region is leading the charge in Wireless Internet use on a PC as well as awareness and usage of Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. These are key indicators that North Americans are turning the corner in mass and becoming more technically sophisticated Internet users. We think the results in 2005 really prove that measuring growth of the Internet in the coming years will be less about user volume, and more about consumers� reliance on this medium as a way of life�whether it is checking RSS feeds, blogging or picking up a podcast or yesterday�s sitcom, consumers continue to expand and apply new depth of Internet use that we haven�t seen before.�

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