Most forecasts project that during 2005 the number of people with Internet access worldwide will soar close to 1 billion.
– Users currently divide almost evenly between men and women and disperse into every age group from early teens up, with those 65+ showing the greatest usage increase.
– English is the official language of two-thirds of Web pages, but more than half of Web users are native speakers of languages other than English. Companies serving global markets increasingly view multilingual options on their sites as necessary rather than optional.
– Most users are sending e-mail, but they’re also logging on to shop or to research products. They study options online before making purchases. Whether they buy online or make the purchase from a bricks-and-mortar establishment, if your business isn’t one they can access via the Web, you may not make it onto their list for consideration.
– They’re online for recreation and entertainment. (E-gambling is expected to rake in $15 billion annually by 2006.)
– They are informed consumers. They walk into doctors’ offices, car dealerships, and other major decision-making situations armed with unprecedented levels of facts and figures. Be ready!
– They expect Web sites to deliver customer support and information with a high level of service. They want an easy and obvious way to contact your business (online and through your physical location) and they expect prompt inquiry responses.