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As aspiring countries become more economically developed, the internet will create a larger overall benefit to both consumers and entrepreneurs.

McKinsey looked at a group of 30 countries with a collective 2010 GDP of $19 trillion, and found that internet penetration has been growing at 25 percent per year over the past five years, and the internet is already contributing an average of 1.9 percent to GDP across these countries—$366 billion in impact.

Over half the world's internet users reside in what McKinsey calls "Aspiring Countries"—those with the economic size and dynamism to be significant players on the global stage in the near future and achieve levels of prosperity approaching those of advanced economies. These countries are less established in the internet space than others, such as China or India, but have the potential to become more dynamic.

“The Internet contributes an average 1.9 percent of GDP in aspiring countries—$366 billion in 2010.”

McKinsey found that the internet is growing at a fast rate in aspiring countries, but with different growth paths. Internet penetration has grown at 25 percent per year for the past five years in the 30 aspiring countries, compared with five percent per year in developed countries. Notably, many in aspiring countries are accessing the internet primarily through mobile phones; mobile subscriptions in these countries have increased from 53 percent of worldwide mobile subscriptions in 2005 to 73 percent in 2010.

McKinsey’s research concluded that if aspiring countries become more economically developed, the internet will have a larger overall impact, and both consumers and entrepreneurs stand to gain. In nine aspiring countries measured, consumer surplus is between $9 and $26 per user per month. As SMEs increasingly deploy the internet in their business, they will find increasing revenue, lower costs, higher productivity and net job creation. Already, the internet is helping to create jobs, contributing 3.2 jobs for every 1.0 job it reduced in the aspiring world.