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It's no secret that when North America sneezes, economically speaking, the rest of the world is pretty certain to catch a cold. In April 2015, the "World Economic Outlook" issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) described North America's economic growth as "solid," but updated forecasts in July noted that regional performance was disappointing in Q1 2015, leading to lower global growth as well.
The fifth annual edition of eMarketer's Global Media Intelligence Report, produced in conjunction with Starcom Mediavest Group, analyzes recent developments in North America, one of the world's most mature markets for digital media. It includes demographic and media usage information on audiences in Canada and the US as well as economic updates.
The overwhelming majority of North American residents use the internet. eMarketer estimates that 80.8% of the US population—nearly 260 million people—will go online at least once a month in 2015. In Canada, penetration will be almost as impressive, at 80.6%. Those figures place the US and Canada ninth and 10th, respectively, in eMarketer's most recent global ranking for internet penetration. Within four years, 83.3% of residents in North America are expected to access the web regularly.
About 80% of people living in the US and Canada will also own at least one mobile phone and use it monthly in 2015, eMarketer estimates. In both countries, over 70% of all mobile users will have a smartphone.
One direct consequence of widespread smartphone and tablet use is vastly extended mobile internet access. About 60% of North America's residents—more than 215 million people, eMarketer projects—will use a mobile phone to access the web in 2015. Within three years, that share will rise to a notable 70%. Western Europe, which ranks second globally in mobile phone internet penetration among the entire population, is gradually closing the gap with North America but will not surpass it during the forecast period.
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