A growing internet user base means a smaller world for marketers. How can marketers break into markets like Japan, China and Germany? Marketing News spoke with experts from across the world to find out.
The world felt larger when the internet was small. Twenty years ago, 33% of internet users were in the U.S. while less than 1.5% of the world’s population was online. American marketers lived in solipsistic times; other countries barely mattered if they mattered at all.
Now, people from Cuenca, Ecuador, to Subang Jaya, Malaysia, to Chicago can reach into their pockets to instantly watch videos, read thoughts and order products from across the world. The internet’s population has watched the world shrink to a size small enough to fit perfectly in the palm of the marketer.
The running count of internet users swells by more than 500 people per minute, according to Internet Live Stats. That number is clicking and ticking toward 3.7 billion people—nearly half of the world’s population. As of 2016, the 287 million U.S. users accounted for fewer than 8% of the internet’s population. This is all part of “Globalization 3.0,” author Thomas Friedman told Wired in a 2005 interview: “In Globalization 1.0, which began around 1492, the world went from size large to size medium. In Globalization 2.0, the era that introduced us to multinational companies, it went from size medium to size small. And then around 2000 came Globalization 3.0, in which the world went from being small to tiny.”