Since July 2009 we’ve been tracking what motivates consumers to get online.

What’s immediately telling is that all the “very strong” motivations are on the rise, this is indicative of growing importance of the internet in people’s lives. The other key aspect is the motivations that lead are all about self-improvement, from “networking for work” to “education” to “promoting something”. We’ve identified a number of reasons for this:

  • Social Media is getting a purpose. It’s not just about networking for the sake of staying in touch, people want to achieve something from it.
  • The growth markets that are starting to dominate the internet (e.g China, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia etc) are far more focused on self-improvement through social media and the internet in general, while in saturated (high GDP) internet markets it is more about enabling social life, purchasing and entertainment. In the last 2 years that this study has been running, the growth markets have become and ever larger percentage of the global internet. By our estimates the active China internet universe is already 3 times the size of the US. In 2 years it will be 5 to 6 times the size.
  • The economy is a clear factor; 2 years of worsening conditions are driving people to go online and look for new opportunities.

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