Industries in Depth

Here’s what happens every minute on the internet in 2020

Wang Xinghuo, 70, and Sun Yang, 64, members "Glamma Beijing", an internet celebrity model group of four grannies who are averagely over 68, browse online shops for belts, as they prepare for a video shooting following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Sun's home in Beijing, China August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang - RC2XCI96ZYGH

Around 4.5 billion people use the internet every day. Image: REUTERS/Tingshu Wang - RC2XCI96ZYGH

Aran Ali
Author, Visual Capitalist
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Internet of Things

  • Ever wondered what goes on on the internet, every single minute?
  • In just 60 seconds, an extraordinary number of data generated across the web, and COVID-19 has made that number rise dramatically.
  • Each minute 41,666,667 Whatsapp messages are sent, 1,388,889 video and voice calls are made, 69,444 people apply for jobs on LinkedIn and TikTok is downloaded 2,704 times.
Every minute of the day on the internet. Image: Visual Capitalist

What happens every minute on the internet in 2020

In 2020, an unfathomable amount of digital activity is occurring at any given moment. This ongoing explosion in activity is the aggregate output of 4.5 billion internet users today, a number that’s projected to increase even further in coming years.

This powerful visual from Domo helps capture what happens each minute in today’s hyper-connected internet era, and it’s actually the eighth edition produced since the year 2012.

What can we learn from the evolution of what happens in an internet minute?

How times have changed

Over its relatively short history, the internet has been a catalyst for both the rise and demise of new companies and platforms.

By looking at which brands have appeared in the graphic in earlier years, we can roughly chart the prominence of certain tech segments, as well as observe brands with the most staying power.

Services that have appeared in the data never sleeps wheel. Image: Visual Capitalist

As you can see above, platforms like Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare showed some promise, but eventually got omitted from the graphic as they dropped off in relevance.

Meanwhile, tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google have had impressive staying power, evolving to become some of the biggest companies in the world. In the process, they’ve caught up to longer-standing titans like Apple and Microsoft at the top of the food chain.

The new “new thing”

Not surprisingly, much of the internet landscape looks different in 2020. Here are a few of the digital hot spots today.

Cash transfers
Nearly $240,000 worth of transactions occur on Venmo per minute. This has served as a catalyst for parent company PayPal, which evolved along successfully with fintech trends. PayPal’s stock now trades at near all-time highs.

E-commerce
Even before COVID-19 resulted in shuttered storefronts and surging online orders, e-commerce was a booming industry. It’s now estimated that $1 million is now spent per minute online. Amazon ships an astounding 6,659 packages every minute to keep up with this demand.

Collaboration tools
In a predominantly remote-working environment, tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams host 208,333 and 52,083 users each minute respectively. Particularly in the pandemic era, it seems that this trend is here to stay.

Accelerated turnover

The accelerated world we are in today means that many companies do not sustain a competitive advantage for as long. Social media companies have dwindled as observed above, and this is similarly reflected in the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company.

A typical company’s tenure on the S&P 500 is expected to shrink rapidly in the next few years:

1964: 33 years

2016: 24 years

2027E: 12 years

Companies are shaving anywhere between 15-20 years off those highs, with estimates of further declines. This metric symbolizes the rapid evolution of the business landscape.

What lies ahead

It’s seemingly easy to forget mankind is still very early in the developments when it comes to the internet. But in this short period, its rise to prominence and the broad digitization of the world has left us with a very eventful timeline.

If the last decade serves as a reference point, one can expect further and intensifying competition among tech companies. After all, the reward—winning in today’s digital economy—reaps much greater value.

All signs point to internet activity advancing to further heights, if not because of 5G and its associated breakthroughs, then perhaps due to the steady rise in people gaining internet access.

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