The internet is increasingly integrated in everyday life in emerging countries, yet the rate of web connectivity in these regions still lags significantly behind more developed markets.
On a global scale, the number of Internet users worldwide hit an estimated 3.2 billion in 2015 - that’s about 43 percent of the world’s population who now have access to the web. Of these, two billion web users are based in the emerging markets, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
This means that for every Internet user in the developed world, there are two in developing countries. Yet significant disparities in access remain. Figures from the ITU show that 34 percent of households in developing countries have Internet access. In developed countries, 80 percent of households have an Internet connection.
However, while Internet usage in the developed world significantly outstrips that in the emerging markets, the fast-growing internet penetration rate outside of the west presents an opportunity for online businesses operating in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Moreover, while shopping for clothes or searching for property online have been common practice in developed markets for some time, these tasks are now catching on in emerging countries.
Recent research from global property portal Lamudi reveals that online platforms are becoming the primary tool to find real estate to buy or rent in countries in Asia and Latin America. In the Philippines, for example, a survey of agents and brokers revealed that 91 percent of real estate professionals observed a significant increase in online inquiries during 2015.
Lamudi Global Co-Founder and Managing Director, Paul Philipp Hermann, said: “Astute online business owners and entrepreneurs can expect to see their companies grow as more people switch online in Asia, Latin America and beyond. We are already seeing this trend occur within the online real estate sector, as more and more house-hunters in the emerging markets turn to property platforms like Lamudi to find their dream home.”