Internet Devices, Apps Blaze Access Path

Internet users are finding that they no longer have to stand still to log on through a variety of devices that allow access from anywhere. Research from In-Stat/MDR reveals that the market for Internet access devices (IADs) is expected to increase by nearly 30 percent over the next year, and is predicted to rise from roughly 427 million units in 2002 to about 880 million units in 2007.

The research firm defines the IAD market as personal computing devices, such as PCs, laptops, Tablet PCs, PDAs, Internet capable mobile phones, set top boxes (including digital cable boxes and video game consoles), and smart appliances, which include Internet-enabled white goods and consumer electronics such as picture frames, televisions, home audio and e-mail devices.

“In the coming years, some of these product segments will face increased competition from each other, as device functionality converges, and others may find that the products available today may evolve into something else as technology advances,” Cindy Wolf, an Industry Analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

In-Stat/MDR also calculated the growth rates of the more popular IADs, finding that notebook growth will be nearly twice that of the desktop PCs over the forecasted period; and Internet-capable mobile phones (which include smartphones) will reach nearly 400 million this year.

Internet users are not only accessing from beyond the desktop, but they are involved in a number of related applications while online. Beginning October 2003 for countries other than the U.S., Nielsen//NetRatings has combined Web-based traffic with Internet applications and browser channel audience data, including comprehensive measurement of AOL proprietary channels. The firm has tracked Internet applications when measuring active users in the U.S. for the past year.

The rest of the Digital Media Universe is comprised of the measurement of instant messaging, media players, media sharing applications, ISP applications, wireless content systems, Web phones, news and information toolbars, connected games, weather applications, auction assistants and shopping assistants.

Using this enhanced measuring process, Nielsen//NetRatings calculated the active number of Internet users for several countries. The number of active users is an estimate of the number of people that actually go online in a given month, rather than the number of people with access.

Global Active Internet Universe,
October 2003, Home
Country Active Digital
Media Universe
Australia 8,060,657
Brazil 8,521,114
Switzerland 2,889,645
Germany 32,450,524
Spain 8,173,906
France 13,621,978
Hong Kong 2,488,428
Italy 14,018,680
Netherlands 7,629,010
Sweden 4,554,051
United Kingdom 19,916,636
United States 127,558,632
Japan 29,076,164
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, Internet users in the UK are spending considerable time with their instant messaging systems, along with various music players.

Top Internet Applications, October 2003, UK, at Home
Internet Application Unique Audience Time Per Person
MSN Messenger Service 6,066,000 02:34:48
Windows Media Player 5,600,000 01:03:03
RealOne/RealPlayer 2,913,000 00:23:38
Apple QuickTime 1,838,000 00:05:18
KaZaA 1,175,000 01:36:55
WhenU 1,058,000 00:03:53
Gator 1,055,000 00:01:00
AOL Companion 1,042,000 00:23:05
Yahoo! Messenger 892,000 02:07:36
WinAmp 660,000 00:37:17
MusicMatch Jukebox 427,000 01:10:00
AOL Instant Messenger* 371,000 01:48:44
ICQ 240,000 01:00:03
MSN Zone 236,000 01:28:45
RealArcade 234,000 00:15:02
* Does not include AOL Instant Messenger via
AOL proprietary services.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

“The scale of Internet applications usage is remarkable,” commented European Market Analyst Tom Ewing, “These categories barely existed a year ago and now the market leaders are being used by five or six million in the UK people every month. What this new report shows us is that online applications are stickier than most Web sites, and audience overlap between competitors is rarer,” he said, “The big question in the next year or two is how companies can generate revenue from them.”

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