What Do People Do Online?

Guest post by Johnathan Blakely, Broadbandsearch.net

Since the internet became mainstream in the 1990s, it has rapidly become an integral part of our lives. Most of us can’t go more than an hour without checking our phones, and “Google It!” has become a part of our daily language.

However, a fair question to ask is: what do people actually do online?

The internet is such a vast ocean of information that one can do pretty much anything. But despite having so much at our fingertips, most of us use the internet for the same core activities.

Broadband Search has compiled stats about internet use in 2019, and these numbers can help us wrap our head around not only how much we use the internet, but also why we spend so much time on the web.

You can read the full report here, but to save you some time, here are some of the highlights.

Search

Due to the ubiquity of the phrase “Google it,” it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people use the internet mainly to search for information. In fact, Google is the number one most-visited site in the world, according to the Alexa rankings.

Pinning down exactly what people search for is difficult, but here’s a list of the most common search terms people use along with the search volumes for each:

  • weather (24.4 million)
  • maps (20.4 million)
  • translate (18.3 million)
  • calculator (16.2 million)
  • YouTube to MP3 (13.7 million)

These terms are just the most popular. Overall, Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches every single day, which is equivalent to more than 1.2 trillion searches per year.

Videos

The next most common thing people do on the internet is watch videos. YouTube is obviously a huge part of this. It’s ranked number two on the Alexa ranking, behind Google and in front of Facebook. YouTube has more than 1 billion unique monthly visitors.

But YouTube isn’t the only place people go for video content. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all receive tons of traffic. 45 percent of people globally watch at least one hour of online video content per day.

Social Media

Some may be surprised to see this is not the number one thing people do online. However, that it’s not in the top spot is not an indicator that social media is not popular. Overall, there are more than 3 billion social media users around the world.

With more than 2 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular platform. Next is Facebook Messenger and Instagram (both owned by Facebook), and then Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat.

In total, Facebook is the third most visited site in the world behind Google and YouTube.

Shop

After searching, watching videos, and perusing social media, shopping is the most common online activity.

The world of e-commerce has seen significant growth over the years as more and more people get used to the comfort and convenience of shopping online.

To give you an idea, consider that global e-commerce sales last year were more than 650 billion. And things are not expected to slow down. Soon, e-commerce could be the leader in the retail space.

Conclusion

Most of use the internet to search for information, watch videos, check up on friends and family, and shop. However, as the web continues to advance and offer more features, perhaps we’ll find new ways to use this awesome tool in the future.