VPN statistics for 2020 – Keeping internet privacy alive

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The modern web is eroding personal privacy at an alarming rate. Huge corporations are selling data for profit. Hackers are stealing information. Governments are spying more than we realize. It’s more important than ever to keep your sensitive information safe.

Your life doesn’t have to be an open book. VPN technology can help you keep your private information private. Word is spreading fast. VPN statistics show that more and more are taking the VPN plunge and protecting their privacy.

Check out the stats on internet usage below to learn more about the prevalence of VPNs and the state of internet privacy in 2019.

Key VPN statistics

  • 26% of internet users worldwide have used a VPN service.
  • 62% of all VPN users are male.
  • About 35% of VPN users are between the ages of 16 and 24.
  • More than 29% of all VPN users access Netflix each month.
  • 93% of IT professionals experience challenges with data privacy.

VPN usage statistics

1.The VPN industry is worth $23.6 billion.

(Statista)

The size of the world’s national VPN markets has been on a constant rise. In 2016, the overall worth of the VPN industry was $15.64 billion. While the average increase in the past few years was around $2.5 billion, 2021 projections see the market worth at $35.73 billion with a $4.5 billion year-over-year increase.


2. About 90% of all VPN services come from companies founded after 2005.

(ACM Internet Measurement Conference 2018)

One of the more interesting VPN facts – almost all of the existing VPN companies were nonexistent before 2005. In fact, 45 out of 50 surveyed VPNs were founded after 2005, indicating exactly when privacy concerns started becoming important to internet users around the world. Some of the best-known VPN services founded during that time are still going strong today, including IPVanish, StrongVPN, and Ironsocket.


3. More than 26% of all internet users rely on VPN services.

(GlobalWebIndex)

Statistics about internet users reveal that VPN usage around the world has been steadily increasing, especially after the adoption of smartphones and the increase in internet usage for things like business transactions and remote work.


4. About 62% of all VPN users are male.

(Statista)

Global VPN users statistics reveal clear discrepancies between genders. Only 38% of VPN users in the world are women. Worldwide, only half of VPN users employ the technology as often as once a month. Among them, 60% are men, and 40% are women.


5.About 35% of all VPN users are aged 16-24.

(Global Web Index)

The demographic-based GlobalWebIndex VPN usage data shows that more than two thirds, or 68% of all users, are younger than 34, indicating that older generations are not that well versed in the technology. The same internet user statistics also indicate that about 19% of all VPN worldwide users belong in the 35-44 age group, leaving just 9% of them in the 45-54 range and merely 4% of all internet users older than 55 who are using VPN services.


6. More than half of all VPN users use it to access better entertainment content.

(Statista)

The latest VPN usage statistics show that some 54% of all desktop VPN users and 57% of mobile VPN users are using the service to access entertainment content like region-locked Netflix shows. Users also employ VPNs to access social networks and news services, and simply to remain anonymous while browsing the internet. Accessing files, sites, and services at work is in fourth place, and communicating with friends and family abroad closes out the top five uses.

  • Access better entertainment content – 50%
  • Access social networks or news services – 34%
  • Keep my anonymity while browsing – 31%
  • Access files or services at work – 30%
  • Access restricted download or torrent sites – 27%
  • Communicate with friends or family abroad – 25%
  • Hide my web browsing from the government – 18%
  • Access a TOR browser – 17%

7. More than 77% of all VPN users buy digital content each month.

(Global Web Index)

Internet statistics reveal that among VPN users who pay for digital content each month, 33% of them are doing so in order to download music. Second place, 27% is split between three monthly purchases: music streaming services, movie or TV streaming services, and mobile apps.


8. Among VPN users who employ the service daily, 42% are mobile users.

(Global Web Index)

Among VPN users who employ the service daily, 35% are desktop users while 42% are mobile users. VPN user statistics reveal that while desktops are still the preferred option, mobile users are now much more active on a daily basis.

Among users whot are accessing VPN services four to five times a week, there is a 2% lead for desktops (15% compared to 13%). The same goes for users who are active two to three times a week (14% on desktops, 11% on mobile).


9. With 17% of all usage, desktop computers are the most-used device for VPNs.

(Global Web Index)

Monthly VPN usage statistics from 2017 show that desktops are ahead of smartphones and tablets, but the gap is closing pretty fast. Computers and laptops are losing ground and smartphones are already at 15% monthly usage, while tablets are lagging behind at 7%. VPN trends like this one will hardly be reversed, so a more mobile-oriented industry seems to be a certainty in the next decade.


10. More than 29% of all VPN users access Netflix each month.

(Global Web Index)

Netflix VPN stats suggest that users outside of the United States are interested in watching American shows. VPN statistics by region tell us that three out of every 10 users of VPN services are circumventing region-locked content to stream Netflix, indicating that there are tens of millions of people using it for that purpose.

This becomes evident when we look at Canada or Mexico VPN users. In both countries, 49% of all VPN users confessing VPN for Netflix streaming. Brazil, with 37%, is in third place, with the UK, Ireland, and India right behind them.


11. 47% of users are at least semi-regularly using VPNs when traveling abroad.

(Global Web Index)

Global internet access statistics prove that tourism and business-related traveling abroad are fueling VPN adoption. This is especially true for those flying in the Asia-Pacific region and other more restricted regions of the world, where VPNs are an essential tool to stay connected.


12. 44% of Indonesian internet users employ a VPN.

(Global Web Index)

Global web users statistics show that Asian VPN adoption,in particular, is much higher than in the rest of the world. With the mass use of VPN in Indonesia, the country stands firmly in first place of global VPN usage. India follows closely behind with 37% VPN usage in 2019. The third place goes to Malaysia, which currently has a 32% VPN usage rate.


13. The Asia-Pacific region leads the world with 30% VPN usage.

(Global Web Index)

Data from from a VPN usage survey shows that countries in the most developed parts of the world are less likely to regularly use VPNs.

For instance, overall VPN usage figures show Asia leading with 30%, followed by Latin America with 23% and the Middle East & Africa with 19%. Europe and North America are both lagging with 17% usage. It is only when we focus on the youngest adult user statistic data that the numbers change, as both Europe and North America jump to 21% usage among 16- to 24-year-old users.

  • Asia Pacific – 30%
  • Latin America – 23%
  • Middle East & Africa – 19%
  • Europe – 17%
  • North America – 17%

VPN Cybersecurity and Privacy Statistics

14. About 74% of Americans have limited their internet use due to privacy concerns.

(TrustArc, National Cyber Security Alliance)

US internet usage statistics from 2016 show that internet users in America are becoming more and more wary about sharing their personal data online. Out of 74% of users who said that they limit their internet use, about 51% have done so by not clicking on ads, 44% withheld personal information, and 32% haven’t downloaded an app or product due to privacy concerns. What’s more, out of all internet users in the USA who stopped using a website or mobile app in that period, 47% said that they did so because they were asked to provide too much personal information.


15. 43% of people globally feel that they lack control over their personal information.

(McAfee)

Internet use statistics from 2018 point to a growing feeling of helplessness among a large percentage of internet users worldwide. Almost half the people surveyed said that they feel like they have no control over their personal data, while 33% weren’t sure that they could control the way companies collect personal information.


16. 61% of Americans say they would like to do more to protect their privacy.

(Pew Research Center)

According to online privacy statistics, six out of 10 Americans feel like they need to do more to protect personal information and sensitive data on the internet. Users are increasingly distrustful of governments and social media networks when it comes to the protection of personal data. In fact, 64% of Americans support more regulation on advertisers, saying that current laws are not good enough when it comes to the protection of people’s privacy.


17. More than 91% of Americans believe that people have lost control over how personal information is collected.

(Pew Research Center)

In recent years, the overall feeling of helplessness regarding eroding online privacy has left the vast majority of Americans with the belief that they have no control at all over how their information is being used. According to internet privacy statistics, about 80% of social media users expressed their concerns about advertisers and businesses accessing the data, and only 9% were confident that social media companies are protecting their data.


18. The cost of cybersecurity in the United States jumped by 29% in 2018.

(Accenture Security)

Statistics about the internet from 2018 reveal that Americans pay more when it comes to fighting cybercrime. In just one year, the cost increased by 29% to $27.4 million. That wasn’t the biggest jump that year on a percentage basis. The United Kingdom experienced a 31% increase to $11.5 million, followed by Japan with a 30% increase.


19. There were more than 151 million mobile fraud attacks in the first half of 2018.

(ThreatMetrix)

Mobile is dominating the digital transaction industry, with over 58% of all transactions and 85% of social media and dating-site transactions now happening on smartphones and other mobile devices. This, in turn, shifts the fraudster focus from desktop to mobile. The same statistics on internet usage also indicate that mobile attack rates have increased by an annual rate of 44% in the US, almost double the global rate of 24%.


20. 93% of cybersecurity professionals are concerned about cloud security.

(Cybersecurity Insiders)

More and more IT professionals are getting worried about the safety of private and business cloud data on the internet. Cybersecurity statistics indicate that out of 93% of tech professionals who have expressed concerns about these issues, 38% are extremely concerned while 37% are very concerned, showing that the threat is not only real but represents a true crisis.


Frequently asked questions

1. What is a VPN?

VPN stands for virtual private network. It is a method of creating a secure connection to another network over the internet. VPNs were originally created in order to allow access to business networks from home, but they have since grown in popularity and have been widely adopted among the public.

Statistics of internet use tell us that these virtual private networks are most commonly used to bypass internet censorship and access region-restricted websites. VPNs are also used to provide a layer of protection and security that shields browsing activity from providers and other prying eyes. They are also popular tools for increasing your safety while torrenting, as VPNs can let you obtain an IP address for any gateway on the network, easily making it appear as if you are using the internet from a completely different country.

2. Is getting a VPN worth it?

Statistics on internet privacy and security levels reveal that our private data and browsing histories are not safe. They can be sold or given to the police and other government authorities – and that’s before we consider the rising tide of cybercrime. This means that trying to secure yourself by using a VPN has never been more important.

We are living in an age in which internet usage around the world is rapidly rising, but important issues like political dissidence and freedom of speech are being challenged by censorship at an even faster pace. In a future where anyone can access your most personal information and online history, freedom will be the thing that gets diminished first. That is why VPNs remain the best choice right now for protecting your private information.

3. What is the best VPN service?

In a VPN market that is growing in value by billions and billions of dollars each year, the competition is constantly getting fiercer. Different providers serve different people’s needs better, so choosing the very best VPN for you becomes a subjective experience that cannot be simply quantified.

Still, there are some companies that have established themselves on the market and have a combination of great service and customer trust, including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Watchguard VPN, KeyVPN, IPVanish, and TunnelBear.

4. Are VPNs legal?

VPNs are perfectly legal in most countries, but with the loss of personal freedom in totalitarian regimes, this technology can go into a gray or even illegal area. That is why nations like China, Turkey, Iraq, UAE, North Korea, Iran, and Russia are prohibiting or discouraging the use of VPNs. It is unlikely that a foreigner who uses a VPN in any of these countries will end up in any legal trouble. Still, it is recommended that you turn off your VPN when traveling to countries where VPN is illegal, just in case.

Otherwise, virtual private networks are completely safe to use and are becoming more important as we shift more toward online shopping, socializing, and networking.

5. Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

VPNs encrypt internet traffic. In general, no one can trace what you are doing online, since every file from a web server is encrypted by the VPN before its sent to you. This means that the only thing a web server can see is the address of the VPN server. The only way to track you is if the provider reveals your identity after getting pressured by the police or other government officials. Among all the VPN statistics, facts, and interesting tech details, it is always of utmost importance to understand that a virtual private network does not make the VPN user invisible or free to engage in cyber crime. This is a technology that was created to protect privacy, not hide criminal activity.

Sources