Gartner gets it wrong on Blogging growth

December 14, 2006 — 35 Comments

Gartner believes that Blogging Growth will peak in 2007 (via Steve Rubel). They’re wrong. Totally wrong. Sure, it will peak in 2007 in the Western world, if it hasn’t already (I believe that we’ve probably already passed the peak point now), but it won’t worldwide, which is what Gartner is claiming:

One of the research company’s top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide.

Most people who would ever dabble with Web journals already have. Those who love it are committed to keeping it up, while others have gotten bored and moved on, said Daryl Plummer, chief Gartner fellow.

“A lot of people have been in and out of this thing,” Plummer said. “Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they’re put on stage and asked to say it.”

Wrong. So wrong it’s scary. How can people have tried blogging if they haven’t previously had internet access? Sure, we take it as a given in Western countries that internet access is close to universal. But Australia, the United States, Canada, the UK…they aren’t the whole world, are they!

There are 1.3 billion people in China, and only 123 million have internet access (Internet World Stats) with various reports putting the broadband number of those at between 70 and 80 million users. Less than 10% of the population of China currently has internet access. According to an October 2004 report (IWS again), the number of Internet users in China was growing at 800,000 a week. That’s 800,000 people every single week that haven’t tried blogging. Depending on the source, the number of bloggers in China varies between 20 million people and 35 million, but even by taking the lower figure of 20 million, you’d be looking at roughly 15% of all internet users in China who blog. If 800,000 new people are joining the internet a week, that’s potentially 120,000 new blogs every single week.

Let’s look at India. According to IWS, there are 40 million internet users in India, out of a population of 1.1 billion. I was unable to find a growth figure for India, but you’d guess from such a small base as a percentage of the population, that internet access would be growing. How is it, according to Gartner, that all the new people joining the internet in India would have tried blogging?

The list of countries can go on and on and on. For a respected firm such as Gartner I would have expected better than just another Western centric view of the world. Asia is where it’s all happening, and Asia will deliver plenty of good growth in blogging.


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