A total of 439 million households around the world had installed a Wi-Fi-based home network at the end of 2011, equivalent to 25 percent of all households, according to market research company Strategy Analytics.
South Korea, where broadband networks are almost ubiquitous, had the highest Wi-Fi household penetration in the world in 2011, with just over 80 percent, Strategy Analytics said.
Other countries with high penetration of Wi-Fi networks in the home include the U.K., France and Germany. In all those countries more than 70 percent of households have a Wi-Fi network, with the U.K. edging out the other two at 73.3 percent.
In the U.S., 61 percent of households have a Wi-Fi network, according to Strategy’s data.
If you step back and think about this for just a minute you have to start to wonder who DOESN’T have this kind of connection in their household. The answer, unfortunately, is likely to fall along socio-economic lines that might indicate that we are reaching a point in time where those who can afford it already have it.
That’s certainly a double edged sword for marketers. You always want to reach the people that have the money to buy things but you don’t want to think that any type of growth pattern could be slowing down for any reason. Of course, access to the Internet is something we would ultimately like to see for everyone regardless of socio-economic status but that is just a nice theory. The reality of that is far off and may not ever come to fruition.
As marketers the time is here. The home is no longer the place of TV dominance. Now there are multiple devices being run on wireless networks in the house that are vying for the time and attention of people that marketers want to reach.
All that being said, there are still industries and individual companies that are not fully committed to the online space. There are always laggards in any movement but this number of people who are either very far behind the curve or simply under-utilizing the Internet for their business is likely to be larger than any of us imagine. It’s hard to see when you sit inside the industry like we all do but just get out and ask a few questions on a local basis and you may be surprised.
So enough about the rest of the world. Are you positioned to reach these potential customers as they roam around their houses paradoxically tethered to their wireless Internet connection?