VPN Market Landscape: User Stats, Global Markets, and the Legal Rollercoaster

The number of security breaches and privacy violations increases yearly, but this also increases the dependence on VPNs, thus leading to substantial growth in the industry. 

This blog highlights some prominent VPN statistics to keep track of these changes, including data related to VPN users, market size, popularity, and legality. 

Number of VPN Users Worldwide 

There are approximately eight billion people worldwide, of which 5.37 billion are Internet users. It is estimated that there are 1.6 billion VPN users, a fifth of the world’s population. 

Note: These numbers are not precise as it only consider countries where VPN penetration is over ten percent.

As can be seen in the pie chart, a staggering 50% of VPN users use free VPN services. Unfortunately, free VPN services are very risky since they do not offer top-notch privacy and security. Additionally, most free VPN providers sell user data for revenue. Despite the privacy and security challenges, VPN users stick to free VPN services because their primary goal is evading geo-restrictions, meaning privacy and security are hardly a concern.

Interest in VPNs Over the Years

VPNs have an interesting relationship with popularity, as the global search volume for VPNs increased a few times over the last two decades. Interest in VPNs peaked in 2004, 2019, and 2022, largely because VPNs have slowly and gradually become an essential part of businesses. 

Businesses encouraged VPN usage for secure remote access and to protect their business data. However, there is a decline now due to the emergence of reliable cloud solutions.

  • 2004 – VPN usage peaked due to the creation of personal VPNs. 

2019 to 2022 – COVID-19, Edward Snowden’s revelations, protests in Iran, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine increased interest in VPNs.

Largest VPN Markets in the World 

Some reasons why the largest VPN markets in the world are located in Asia are as follows:

  • Massive populations;
  • Excessive government censorship. 

These factors alone suggest that VPNs are here to stay, and with the rise in global population, data leaks, hacks, etc., internet privacy will continue to decline. To put things into perspective, it should not come as a surprise that the VPN market is expected to reach $76 billion by 2027

VPN Usage – Who Uses the Most?

Most VPN users are men, although the difference is not considerable. What is more interesting is the fact that millennials mostly use VPNs. 

  • One in five users aged between 25 and 34 said they used a VPN. 
  • Gen Z used VPNs less than Millennials, with 16.5% of people between 16 and 24 stating they used a VPN. 

Some claim this disparity exists because Gen Z is more comfortable with internet use, but some argue that some are not of legal age and thus cannot get a VPN due to financial restrictions. 

VPN Usage Frequency

Based on the information in the pie chart, 64% of users do not use a VPN daily, suggesting people are interested in eliminating geo-restrictions. 

Why do People use VPNs? 

A VPN is primarily a security and privacy tool, but it offers much more. According to Google Trends, people use VPNs for work, gaming, privacy, security, and travel. A majority of people are interested in VPNs for work, which was then followed by searches for VPN for security and VPN for gaming. 

How do People Use VPNs? 

  • Four out of ten people use a VPN for personal reasons, ranging from privacy and security to eliminating geo-restrictions. 
  • Three out of ten people use a VPN for business. 
  • Less than one out of four people use a VPN for personal reasons and business. 

Average Cost of VPNs

The average cost of a VPN differs from company to company, and the average cost with and without discounts are as follows:

  • With Discount – $3.69 
  • Without Discount – $10.45

Cyberattacks in the US

Nearly half a million suffered from cybercrime in 2021, but that is a considerable improvement over the previous year. The curve will continue to decline since COVID-19 scams are losing steam while internet users and institutions are becoming aware. 

VPN Usage Legality

VPN usage is legal in most places worldwide, but that does not guarantee internet users are free from risks or hassles. Approximately 45% of internet users reside in countries with restricted VPN usage, which translates to 2.4 billion people. 

Currently, VPN usage is restricted in the following countries:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Iran
  4. Iraq
  5. Belarus
  6. Myanmar
  7. Pakistan
  8. Oman
  9. Tanzania
  10. Russia
  11. UAE
  12. Turkmenistan
  13. Turkey
  14. Uganda

Why do People Avoid using a VPN?

According to the report, six out of ten people don’t need a VPN. Other respondents cited the hassle of setting up a VPN and were unsure about benefits and pricing. Most notably, internet users also stated they did not trust VPNs in general since they know how VPNs sell data to third parties, and so on. 

From search interests to the growing VPN market, there is a concern for individual privacy every year. People now feel they cannot trust governments and organizations to protect their data. 

Projections of the VPN market suggest that things will not improve since the number of cyberthreats continues to grow. The only solution to this problem involves using cybersecurity tools and adopting good browsing habits.