The Internet may make the world seem like a global village, but regional differences still play a large role in users' Internet experiences, according to a new study from International Data Corp (IDC) on advanced Web usage around the globe.
The study looked at "who is doing the buying, what they do for a living, how much they spend, how concerned they are about purchasing over the Web, and what differences there are by country", IDC said.
Called Project Atlas, the report analysed some 28,000 responses from Internet users in 80 countries. Conducted in 13 languages, the survey was taken in cooperation with some of the Web's top portals, IDC said. The countries included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and the US.
The study showed large differences in online habits based on country and region, IDC said.
Sometimes these differences were of a surprising nature. For example, advanced Web users in Japan own a record number of Internet devices, yet Mexicans go online more frequently than the Japanese.
Another revelation was that the cost of Internet access still varies dramatically from country to country. Argentines pay a whopping $US78 a month for Net access, while Swedes pay only $18 per month, according to IDC.
Among those polled, at least 25 per cent made purchases from home, according to IDC. The biggest spenders were in the US, Argentina and Puerto Rico, whereas some of the smaller spenders came from Denmark, Spain and China.
Although a majority of the survey respondents said they prefer sites in their own language, in selected countries such as India, Hong Kong and the Netherlands, more people cited English-language sites as their first choice.
More information on the IDC study can be found online at www.idc.com.
By Mary Lisbeth D'Amico