When discussing the usage of Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs as they are more commonly known, it is important to look at which countries are the most popular users of the service, and what the reason for the usage is. It is clear to see that VPN usage is a trend built around fast-growth markets, and is mainly motivated by out of market content access.
Asia-Pacific is one of the regions where VPN usage is highest, with a third of consumers located in this region actively using a VPN. Indonesia specifically leads VPN usage in regards to specific countries, with around 40% of individuals using a VPN. It is estimated that around two-thirds of the entire VPN users in the world are located within Asia-Pacific.
VPN usage geographical Pattern
The geographical pattern of usage suggests that the majority of users of VPNs are doing so in order to access content that was previously geographically locked, and therefore unavailable in their location. This could include a variety of things, such as accessing different shows on Netflix or even accessing BBC iPlayer. The way in which a VPN works allows for users to easily access this content, by diverting their internet traffic through an external server, which is often located in a different country, or even continent.
The motivations for using VPN changes depending on the user. Some may live in countries where certain social media networks have been blocked, such as in China, where the government has blocked Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Facebook messenger, which can make communication difficult without the use of a VPN.
Also, as previously mentioned, many individuals may use VPNs in order to access multimedia content that was previously unavailable to them due to their geographic location. Online privacy remains one of the main reasons why an individual may use a VPN, in order to maintain their anonymity whilst browsing the internet, as well as protecting their privacy from hackers.
Some VPN highlights
- Asia Pacific had the most users that use a VPN or proxy server to access the internet, with 30% usage penetration as of Q1 of 2018.
- As of Q1 of 2018, the leading motivation why mobile users use VPN is to access better entertainment content, says 57% of the respondents.
- 52% of the global internet users are more concerned about their online privacy compared to a year ago as of March 2018.
How VPN works?
A VPN works by granting the user a brand new IP address, which is often located in a completely different location. This means that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to trace where someone is browsing the internet from, maintaining full anonymity and privacy. Following on from high profile data breaches in recent years, such as Facebook last year, more and more individuals are using VPNs in order to protect their personal information when browsing the internet.
VPN used by Countries
As you can see from the infographic, Indonesia and India are the main users of VPN services in the world. The main motivations within these countries are to access better multimedia content that was previously unavailable to them, with around 40% of internet users now using VPN services within these countries. Turkey is the third most popular country in regards to VPN usage, with around 32% of users in this country browsing the internet using a VPN service. Other countries with more than a quarter of people using VPNs are China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Vietnam, The United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines.
Within these countries, VPN usage will vary, however, the most common usage of a VPN in the modern age is unlocking previously unavailable content, with around 50% of user suggesting this was their main motivation for using a VPN. Around 34% of people say that they use a VPN in order to access social media networks that were previously blocked in their country, whilst 31% of people say that they use VPNs in order to maintain anonymity whilst browsing.
Usage by continent
Breaking down VPN usage by continent interestingly demonstrates a clear disparity in usage for Asia Pacific and Latin American countries, and less so for North American and European countries. It is clear to see from the infographic that the main motivation for VPN usage in Asia-Pacific countries is to access better multimedia content, with less of an interest in maintaining privacy and anonymity whilst browsing. However, when looking at Europe, there is not much difference between the two, suggesting that there is no clear motivation for VPN usage within this continent.
It is also clear to see from the infographic that VPN users are big consumers of online TV, with up to 40% saying that they will be watching subscription-based TV services weekly. Also, the myth that all VPN users are pirates, is not true. 77% of VPN users are buying digital content every month, and there is no data to suggest that the others are pirates.
As is expected, the majority of VPN users are aged between 16 and 24, and male. Around 62% of VPN users are expected to be male, and just 4% of VPN users are aged between 55 and 64 years old.
Reason to use VPN
It is also clear to see from the infographic that the reason for using a VPN in the majority of countries is to access better multimedia streaming content, with just 8 countries leaning the other way, suggesting that the main reason for using a VPN is to maintain anonymity and privacy when browsing the internet. The 8 countries this applies to are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United States of America.
The main users of VPNs appear to be countries in the Asia Pacific, and their main motivation appears to be accessing more multimedia content. By re-routing our internet traffic through a server based in a different location, we are able to access a wider variety of content online, meaning that VPN usage online will continue to grow, as people realize that they are able to unlock a wide range of films and television by using one.