The internet is increasingly integrated in everyday life in Pakistan, yet the rate of web connectivity across the nation still lags significantly behind more developed markets.
On a global scale, the number of Internet users worldwide hit an estimated 3.2 billion in 2015 – that’s about 43 percent of the world’s population who now have access to the web. Of these, two billion web users are based in the emerging markets, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
This means that for every internet user in the developed world, there are two in developing countries, including in Pakistan. Yet significant disparities in access remain. Figures from the ITU show that 34 percent of households in developing countries have Internet access. In developed countries, 80 percent of households have an internet connection.
However, while internet usage in the developed world significantly outstrips that in the emerging markets, the fast-growing internet penetration rate in Pakistan and outside of the west presents an opportunity for online businesses operating in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
According to global conversation agency We Are Social, as of March 2015 there were 29.1 million active Internet users in Pakistan. This equates to a 15 percent Internet penetration rate in the country, with 19.6 million active social media users, 149.2 million mobile connections and 16.2 million active social media users accessing the platforms via mobile.
Moreover, while shopping for clothes or searching for property online have been common practice in developed markets for some time, these tasks are now catching on in emerging countries.
Recent research from global property portal Lamudi reveals that online platforms are becoming the primary tool to find real estate in countries in Asia and Latin America. According to a recent survey of local real estate agents by Lamudi Pakistan, 80 percent believe that mobile Internet is transforming the real estate industry in Pakistan.
LamudiPakistan Managing Director, SaadArshed, said: “Pakistani business owners and entrepreneurs with an online presence can expect to see their companies grow as more people switch online in Pakistan, the rest of Asia, Latin America and beyond. We are already seeing this trend occur within the online real estate sector, as more and more house-hunters in the emerging markets turn to property platforms like Lamudi to find their dream home.”