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By the end of 2023, the internet will connect 5.0 billion people, and we’re just getting started. Studies say another 3.0 billion are set to join by 2040, changing the digital landscape entirely. 

With the global tech market valued at $30 trillion, these new users mean a lot more than mere numbers. They represent a wave of opportunities for innovation, market expansion, and fresh ideas in technology. 

For tech-first businesses specifically, engaging with this emerging audience opens doors to new ventures and growth. As the digital arena grows, so does the potential for companies ready to meet the needs and demands of the next generation of internet users.

Let’s delve deep into the rise of next internet users and their potential business impact. 

Accelerated Adoption: The Quickening Pulse of Digital Expansion

The foundational two decades of the internet saw a staggering rise in global internet users, growing from 0 to 2.5 billion people. This swift expansion, however, has gone even further. In a mere 10 years time (2014 to 2024), we’ve noted the addition of the next 2.5 billion users, halving the time it took for the previous wave. This accelerated growth, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of +8%, is a testament to the ever-increasing pace of global digital adoption.

As of 2023, the world’s population is projected to hit 8.0 billion, with nearly 5.0 billion internet users. This leaves 3.0 billion still offline, representing a massive untapped potential. 

“By 2040, another 3.0 billion users are expected to join the digital realm, although the journey for these next users might be slower due to end barriers such as remote access, affordability, and digital literacy” – says the report.

Business Implications:

For businesses, this signifies a monumental shift. The burgeoning number of digital users represents fresh markets brimming with opportunities for new products, services, and innovations. Tech companies, both established and nascent, need to understand and adapt to this rapid change to stay competitive and relevant.

  • New Products & Services: As the digital population grows, so does the demand for innovative solutions. Businesses that anticipate and meet these needs will lead the market.
  • Global Market Access: With the internet’s borderless nature, companies have an unprecedented opportunity to tap into global markets, offering their services to a diverse and growing user base.
  • Strategic Adaptations: Businesses must evolve their strategies to cater to the faster adoption rates, focusing on scalability, user experience, and inclusive design to reach the widest possible audience.

Tracing the Value Creation Journey

Over the last decade, the surge in global new internet users has catalyzed an unprecedented wave of value creation, reshaping industries and economies worldwide. This transformative journey is marked by the rise of the Global Tech Stack, an intricate ecosystem comprising hardware, connectivity, and software, collectively powering the daily digital interactions of billions.

1. Hardware — The Gateway:

The past decade has witnessed hardware evolve from a luxury to a necessity, reaching an expansive 22.2 billion connected devices globally. The proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices has been instrumental in integrating the global population into the digital economy, fostering an environment where access is no longer a barrier to entry.

2. Connectivity — The Lifeline:

Connectivity has undergone a radical transformation, becoming faster, more reliable, and increasingly affordable. The expansion of 4G LTE and the advent of 5G have significantly reduced the cost of basic data plans while improving coverage, ensuring that the benefits of the internet reach far and wide, setting the stage for an inclusive digital future.

3. Software — The Architect:

The software sector has seen exponential growth with the top 3 companies in this category now boasting market caps of $2.5T, $1.5T, and $1.3T respectively, representing a significant portion of the Global Tech Stack’s total market cap of over $30 trillion.

The reach and impact of software are evident in the rise of ecommerce, where the U.S. market share of retail sales has steadily increased, indicating a significant shift in consumer behavior and the critical role of software in enabling this transformation.

Living in The Tech Giant’s Era

In the towering shadow of the Global Tech Stack, we find the tech giants, with Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon perching at the pinnacle, boasting market caps in the trillions. This isn’t something beyond the number’s game—it’s showcases the colossal impact of software, connectivity, and hardware combined. 

As noted before, together, they’ve constructed a digital empire worth over $30 trillion. A more direct analysis is given below – 

  • Microsoft reigns with a $2.5T market cap.
  • Alphabet follows with $1.5T.
  • Amazon trails closely at $1.3T.
  • Connectivity strides with China Mobile at $175B.
  • Hardware shines with NVIDIA’s $1.1T cap.

As we look towards the horizon, the question arises: what innovation will spark the next wave of growth and be the next big thing for the next internet users? 

The answer lies in the continuous evolution of this tech ecosystem. For business owners, staying abreast of these shifts is crucial for survival and success in an economy that’s rapidly digitizing in 2024 and beyond. 

Tech Growth Fueled by User Innovation

The expansion of the Global Tech Stack is propelled by the preferences and evolving needs of existing internet users, fostering a cycle of continual innovation.

  • New solutions are revamping old methods, like the shift from physical stores to online shopping.
  • Fresh needs are met with novel ideas, expanding the developer economy with cutting-edge devops tools.
  • Automation and optimization are at the heart, driving the app development sector forward.

This trend isn’t slowing down. It’s the existing users, with their evolving demands and digital savviness, who are steering the ship towards uncharted territories of tech possibilities. Keep your eyes peeled – the next big shift is just around the corner.

Catering to a New Digital Demographic

As the Global Tech Stack expands, it’s the dawn of an era for new internet users who are coming online. The wave of innovation targets:

  • Cost-Effective Hardware: Introducing more affordable devices.
  • Faster Connectivity: Advancing towards quicker internet access.
  • Software Adoption: Embracing a variety of new applications.

Business implications are profound. Companies that innovate for these emerging consumers can seize a significant market share. Value creation in this space will be skewed towards those who smartly navigate and invest in these expanding digital frontiers.

What Do We Think? 

So here’s what we at Segwitz are anticipating – The next ten years herald an era of astronomical growth for the Global Tech Stack, promising a cascade of value creation running into trillions of dollars. As new users plug into the digital grid, they’ll add a dynamic angle to the waves of innovation, challenging us to think differently and create anew.

This is a call to arms for every business leader to seize the day. The tech expansion is a fertile ground for those ready to engage with fresh markets and digital frontiers. It’s a moment ripe with potential, and it’s ours for the taking. Let’s shape the future—your thoughts and moves today will script our collective tomorrow in the tech space. 

Are you prepared to leverage what’s coming to the fullest? Let’s talk and find out. 

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