comScore Networks today announced the launch of comScore World Metrix, the first true estimate of global online audience size and behavior based on activity from the world’s largest online behavioral research panel. The comScore World Metrix panel has active representation from countries that comprise 99 percent of the global Internet population. In launching comScore World Metrix, the company announced that 694 million people, age 15+, used the Internet worldwide from all locations in March 2006, representing 14 percent of the world’s total population within this age group. This number marks the first worldwide universe estimate based on a consistent methodology across all countries.
comScore also released the top 15 countries ranked by average hours spent online per visitor for March 2006, as a measure of engagement.
Until now, we've had to rely on Alexa for worldwide numbers. Now we've got numbers with some real work and QA behind them. Internet users outside the U.S. now account for 80 percent of the world's online population, with rapidly developing countries experiencing double-digit growth rates year-over- year.