The Nielsen/NetRatings Global Internet Index for March shows Internet access from the home grew by nearly seven million people in March 2001 to a total of 379 million worldwide.
Nielsen says active Internet usage rebounded from a drop in February, growing almost four percent to 211 million people.
South Koreans still top the Web usage charts globally, leading the 21 markets advertisement measured by the Index in terms of page views. Surfers in that country logged an average 2,164 page views over the month, or nearly 92 pages during each surfing session. By contrast, South Koreans spent the least amount of time of all surfers viewing a page (28 seconds) before moving on.
"South Koreans are the consummate surfers," Brian Milnes, managing director Pacific, ACNielsen eRatings said, adding that they, along with Hong Kong surfers, had the highest click rate for ad banners.
Adding more fuel to the debate over the effectiveness of online advertising, Nielsen says the average click rate for top banners increased globally in March.
The Index revealed Australian Internet users had the longest page view duration of 54 seconds, equal with the United States. New Zealanders spent an average 53 seconds on each page, consuming 30 pages per surfing session.
In the e-commerce arena, a battle has emerged between eBay and Amazon.com.
"Though their unique audiences are neck and neck at just over 22 million people, eBay dominates Amazon.com in terms of pages viewed and time per person on the site," Milnes said.
"With more than 1.3 billion page views in March and an average of an hour and a half spent on the site, eBay's stickiness raises the bar for the industry."
eBay is now ranked 11th, just ahead of Amazon.com.