One Chart Reveals Which Country Is Most Addicted to the Internet — and It Isn't the U.S.


The news: America might be addicted to the Internet, but we're nothing compared to Brazil.

A study by consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that more people are spending more time online than ever. And, as to be expected, the bulk of the Internet addiction comes from countries with younger populations with greater access to technology.

"In countries such as Brazil and Nigeria, with younger populations and solid smartphone penetration, two-thirds of respondents say they are continuously connected," according to the report. "The respondents who are continuously connected tend to be younger and single."

In Brazil, in particular, over half of the respondents said they were connected to the Internet all day — a rate more than double of the U.S.

A.T. Kearney

Other findings: The study also examined how people in different countries were spending their time online.

Globally, "exploring new subjects" was the most common reason why people went online, followed by increased convenience in shopping and choosing entertainment. Respondents in countries with restricted freedom of speech, such as China and India, said Internet use was for "expressing opinions and being heard," while those in Japan, Germany and the U.S. did not consider that a priority.

A.T. Kearney

And social networking reigned as the top online activity throughout the world. 

"Overall, 46% of respondents say social networking accounts for the largest portion of their time online," the report found.

"In Brazil, Nigeria, India and Russia, more than half of respondents say social networks consume the greatest amount of their online lives, ahead of entertainment, shopping and transactional services such as banking. In the United States, Germany and Japan, the percentages are 40% and lower, in favor of more trans­actional purposes such as shopping."

A.T. Kearney

What does this mean? Global patterns are at work here, such as the emphasis on online exploration and social networking. But much of the respondents' Internet behavior remains specific to the country they come from, and their cultural priorities.

For brands hoping to build a global presence online, countries with large youth populations will be the ones to target — especially the Internet-addicted Brazil.