FAS Homepage | CyberStrategy Project | Index | Search | Join FAS



This resource is a comprensive guide to internet-related statistics and sources. The good news is that because the internet uses computers statistics are rather abundant. The bad news is that the abudance of statistics is surpassed only by the difficulty in figuring out what if anything all the numbers are supposed to mean.

General Statistics

How Many People are Online

[statistics] Out of approximately 100 million American households, almost all currently have access to broadcast television, and about 60 million households have cable television. By the end of this decade, the number of households with home computers may surpass the number with cable television. An increasing proportion of these home computers will be equipped with modems, enabling home computers to connect with computers elsewhere, including the internet. And most of the households with this technical capability are likely to connect to some type of online service, including proprietary services such as America On-Line, Compuserve or the Microsoft Network.

[statistics] There is considerable uncertainty concerning current and future patterns of home computing. Even the current number of home computers is in doubt. With other consumer durables such as automobiles or microwave ovens, where possession and use are synonymous. But many households have older -- unused or unusable -- computers in the house, complicating estimates of the current installed base. It is generally estimated that approximately 30 million US households have home computers, and about 10-15 million have modems which enable them to go online. According to various forecasts, between 40 million to 70 million households will have home computers by the end of the decade, and somewhere between 30 million and 60 million will have modems for online access. The number of households with access to internet services such as the World Wide Web is estimated to grow to somewhere between 20 million and 45 million by the end of this decade.

How Large is the Internet

World Wide Web - Users

Usenet and E-Mail Listservs

As with many aspects of the internet, statistics on users of Usenet are uncertain. [statistics]

Client Hardware Trends

[Evolution Graph] The radical improvements in personal computing have been obscured by the substantial continuity in the external appearance of the desk-top work-station. From the outside, today's station looks much like that of its predecessors -- a keyboard, a box about the size of a small suitcase, and a monitor, all in any color you want as long as it is beige. But these external similarities have masked profound quantitative and qualitative internal improvements. Although no single performance benchmark fully captures these developments, the speed and performance of today's desktop computers are anywhere from 100 to 100,000 times that of personal computers of fifteen years ago.

[sales graph] During the 1980s, annual sales of desktop computers for office use grew at a rate of about 10% each year, from five million units to ten million units. And in the early 1990s, annual sales increased dramatically, with home computer sales growing at 20% annually. Total sales surpassed twenty million units in the mid-90s, and are expected to approach forty million units by the end of the decade [according to a study by the consulting firm Dataquest], most of which will be platforms more sophisticated than today's Pentium [according to projections by BIS Strategic Decisions]. Our analysis is a composite of the projections provided by these two firms.

[sales graph]The current boom in computers sales derives from a convergence of office and home computing capabilities. A decade ago, the computer market was fundamentally divided between office computers costing anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000, and much less capable home computers typically costing between $1,000 and $2,000 [in 1995 equivalent dollars, adjusted for inflation]. While desk-top computers brought powerful new capabilities to the office, home users were relegated to playing simple games, typing short letters, and storing recipes. Today, both home and office users have converged on highly-capable systems typically costing about $3,000. The profound expansion in the range of capabilities of home computers accounts for the greatly expanded ownership of these systems, as both home and office systems provide equivalent applications.

[computers] Installed Base of Computers In 1995 only a small fraction of installed desktop computers were fully capable of supporting sophisticated 32-bit multi-tasking applications, which require Pentium/PowerPC platforms. However, as a result of greatly increased annual sales levels, by the end of this decade most installed computers will support such applications, as well as more advanced implementations which have yet to be identified. These projections are based on our composite analysis of forecast sales, and are consistent with other estimates of the existing intalled base of computers.

[computers] Most of these computers will reside in the homes of individual citizens. By the end of this decade, the aggregate computational power of home computers will rival that of all desk-top office computers in public, private, and non-profit organizations combined.

FAS Homepage | CyberStrategy Project | Index | Search | Join FAS

Maintained by John Pike
Updated Thursday, October 16, 1997 4:27:53 PM