VPN Consumer Usage, Adoption & Shopping Study: 2021

Scott Repasky
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Key findings:

What is Awareness of VPNs?

Awareness of VPNs is high. While many users are still not aware of the term, 38% are now familiar with VPNs. Awareness has risen from 29% one year ago and 22% two years ago. This is testament to the growing popularity of VPNs, and the increasing adoption rate amongst a wider audience of home and business users.

While the first 35% of respondents who know about VPNs also know what they do, the remaining 65% only have an educated guess of what they are. Of the 65%, the majority feel that VPNs either let you view content that is normally censored in a location, or that they connect you to the internet more safely.

Expand Knowledge of What VPNs Do

The most important takeaway for VPN providers is that more needs to be done to educate users about what VPNs actually do.

While most users are somewhat aware of VPNs’ existence, the majority either don’t know how to use them or don’t know what they do. This is a missed opportunity to better explain what VPNs are, what they do and why they should be used.

Based on our research, we recommend that VPN providers should take steps to be more explicit that their products are also used to protect their privacy and security, as many users appear to not realize this.

Who’s Using VPNs and Why?

Larger businesses use VPNs to spread their company’s information across locations and to connect company headquarters with branch offices. Small business owners can also use VPNs to make sure that their important company information and data stays secure in the hands of a third party rather than being in the hands of employees who may have to jump from place to place due to shifts in location. Each segment of the business world has their own reasons for using VPN software.

As individuals, people use VPNs for many different purposes – protecting their privacy, accessing their country’s television station if they are abroad, monitoring their children’s Internet usage, or just wanting to be able to access websites that may be blocked in their country. Personal VPN uses are also widespread because they help individual users avoid geo-blocking and being unable to access the services they want to due to the region that is set on their IP address.

There are also many different reasons consumers may have for using VPNs. VPNs are used by travelers who want to access their social media sites, watch geo-restricted TV stations, visit sports gambling sites, or chat with family and friends back home. Many companies advertise the use of VPN software to keep your information and activity secure while you are browsing the internet.

Who’s Buying & What Are They Paying?

Note: This study is entirely based on information obtained from public sources (i.e. survey of users, suppliers, resellers, outside data sources such as press releases, etc.) and is intended as a general guide to industry trends only. It is also not intended to be comprehensive, comprehensive, or kept up-to-date.

Verdict: While the exact numbers are unknown, the trend is clear. More people who are online for safety, security, anonymity, and privacy are learning about VPNs and using them.

What’s the Potential Future Market for VPN Services?

The future market for VPN services appears to be bright. Consumer use of virtual private networks, or VPNs, has grown significantly over the last several years, with the number of VPN users logging in to their service rising from roughly 10 million to a projected 115 million by 2021.

According to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, analysts predict global adoption of VPN services will more than double in three years to nearly 400 million users, with mature markets embracing the technology as a virtual necessity. As use of the technology accelerates, the study’s research suggests pricing models will move away from a pay-as-you-go approach towards a more predictable monthly subscription fee, offering a viable solution for content providers, internet service providers (ISPs) and operators to serve up more bandwidth and better services.

“Virtual private networks have clearly established their value as a compelling and effective threat to online security,” said Frost & Sullivan Technology Industry Analyst Montu Narwade. “As use of VPNs gains traction and continues to substantiate its reputation as a virtual necessity, a payment monthly subscription model is expected to emerge, further improving accessibility and driving use of the technology.”

Conclusion

Methodology

ABT.MAG has conducted a study amongst 1700 VPN users globally across industries and regional geographies. The study aims to understand what attracts users to purchase a VPN subscription. Users are predominantly from the US, UK, Canada and Western Europe while the sample size has also been expanded to more countries in South East Asia like Singapore and Hong Kong, India, other regions in Western Europe are also included in the study. The study has taken into account the use case of VPN by the respondents, what they use it for, frequency, the way they buy their VPN subscriptions etc.

For the consumer study, VPN Usage, Adoption & Shopping Study (2021) , we spoke to 1700 respondents from 6 countries — USA, UK, Netherlands, UAE, Australia, Australia with the help of Survey Monkey.

Where the response rate is typically 20% with traditional surveying, we are able to achieve a 4% response rate in this study. 77 questionnaires were rejected and removed from the sample set. Thus we are left with 1663 usable questionnaires.

The survey results have been weighted to account for further biases i.e. the over-representation of VPN users amongst our user base of Tech Junkies.

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