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Half of VPN Use Is for Accessing Restricted Movies and TV

WhyAxis 180829 - VPN Usage

The Hong Kong office of Go-Globe, a web design firm, decided to examine how people are using virtual private networks (VPNs) based on publicly available statistics. And the trends are revealing.

The Why Axis BugThe most interesting thing is that this $20.6 billion slice of the worldwide software industry (and that slice will almost double to $35.73 billion by 2022) doesn’t get all that much use. Only 25 percent of users on the internet even bothered to switch on a VPN in the last month. Pretty staggering to think that the number might have been even lower just months ago, before the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal woke people up to the privacy abuse out there.

What’s not surprising is why people use a VPN. Sure, about one-third of users are certainly using it for the expected reasons, such as accessing services at the office, staying anonymous online, or even accessing news and social networks. But exactly half of the users are using VPNs for the movies: 50 percent use a VPN to access “restricted entertainment content.” That typically means they’re pretending they’re in another country so they can see the geo-locked media on a streaming service. (Hopefully, our look at The Best VPNs for Netflix helped.)

At the extreme end of reasons for VPN usage are those that are activist or political in nature—such as hiding from governments. A full 17 percent reported using VPNs for accessing the Tor browser, which doubles up on the privacy.

The demographics breakdown indicate that most VPN users are male (62 percent) and trend younger. The age group of 16- to 24-year-olds use VPNs the most, at 35 percent. The number drops a bit for the next age group (25 to 34 years old) to 33 percent. Then usage by pre-millennials, for lack of a better term, drops precipitously, and it gets worse the older you go. So much for blaming all that lost privacy on the young.

Asked about the frequency with which they access a VPN on PCs versus mobile, those who use a VPN daily typically do it more on the handheld device (42 percent) than the desktop (35 percent). But the numbers switch; the PC gets higher rates of use by those accessing VPNs with less frequency.


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Wondering which countries use VPNs the most? It’s not the United States, which didn’t even make the top ten (in a list the graphic pulled from Statista). Indonesia has the highest usage of VPNs proxies, followed by India, Turkey, China, and Malaysia.

Check out the full infographic below.

Are you a VPN user? Rate your favorite virtual private network by September 3—it may be the winner of our next Readers’ Choice Award.

 The state of VPN Usage - Statistics and Trends

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