Online activity around the world has increased throughout 2020. Many more people are using the internet for work, shopping, entertainment and other activities, resulting in a global market shift towards a more digital-focused environment. Ecommerce, online gaming, streaming services, social media channels and other digital platforms all reported increases in active daily use, revenues or profits throughout the previous year.
New Jersey is one of the best-connected regions of the world. It ranks number one in all of America for best broadband access, with over 99% of the population having access to a wired connection that offers speeds of at least 100Mbps. The state also has one of the smallest digital divides, with over three-quarters (78.4%) of the population accessing an internet plan classed as low price, which compares to the national average of 51.5%.
As internet usage rises around the world, it stands to reason that people in one of the best-connected regions will be leading the way.
Online gaming was once seen as a niche market, aimed at young men and boys and with little to offer the wider population. In recent years, this perception has changed drastically. As mobile gaming has increased and the variety of online games expanded, the market has attracted millions of new players. In 2020, global revenue for gaming leaped up by approximately 20%, taking it to $175 billion.
New Jersey has some of the most permissive laws in the United States for real money online gaming. Citizens of New Jersey can access any online casino site that holds a valid Internet Gaming Permit and enjoy a whole host of table games, slots machines, dice games and card games, often joining with friends online.
It is the social aspect that has been credited with much of the increase in online gaming around the world throughout 2020. Some of the most popular games are those that allow groups of people to chat while playing, ranging from aggressive and exciting MMOs such as World of Warcraft to gentler pastimes in games such as Animal Crossing. The sheer scope of available games and platforms to play them on means that gaming online has become not only more accessible but also more attractive.
Ecommerce has also experienced a huge boost during 2020, increasing in revenue by around $175 billion. Part of this can be accounted for by people spending more time online generally. It is also being driven by huge increases in internet access and advances in technology in areas of the world where internet shopping has not been viable for many until now. Countries such as Mexico, where fewer than half the adult population have bank accounts, have been slow to jump on the ecommerce bandwagon. The introduction of new payment technologies and other tools to make it easier to shop online have resulted in more trust and therefore more customers in many regions of the world.
While many businesses of all sizes are beginning to take their products and services to online platforms, by far the largest internet retailer must be Amazon. The ecommerce giant stocks a diverse range of products that can be ordered and delivered to people’s homes almost anywhere in the world, making it the go-to website for millions of internet shoppers around the globe. In the third quarter of 2020, Amazon reported profits of $6.3 billion and with no sign of slowing down.
In New Jersey, the start-up Boxed was founded in 2013 as an alternative to giants like Amazon, offering customers a way to access goods at wholesale prices through an app. The start-up was promising enough to raise more than $30 million in under three years, challenging large wholesalers in the US such as Costco by providing bargain prices without the need to visit a physical store.
In our increasingly global digital world, more than half of the population of the planet now use some form of social media as a means of communication. The average social media user will spend approximately two hours and 24 minutes every single day using some form off social media, including messaging apps, and will engage across an average of 8 separate channels.
Facebook is still the most-used social network site, followed by YouTube and WhatsApp. As a relative newcomer, TikTok is gaining ground, and there are more users of Reddit than there are of Twitter or Pinterest. This increased interest in sites that are relatively new or not discussed as much as some of the older social media channels shows that the market share is expanding and users are demanding more variety.
In New Jersey, Twitter remains the second most popular platform after Facebook, with smaller market shares going to Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit. Facebook accounted for almost three-quarters of social media use in January 2021 in New Jersey. Around the world 15.5 people join a social network online every second.
Streaming services also saw a huge boost in 2020, with around 12% more people accessing video and music streaming services. As technologies advance and internet penetration increases around the world, the figures for all aspects of internet use will undoubtedly continue to rise, which in turn will spur companies on the improve their online offering to meet increased demand.