Sandvine’s 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report Shows 24% Jump in Video Traffic, with Netflix Volume Overtaking YouTube

Jan 20, 2023

Streaming and the short-form video craze are just some of the drivers behind a double-digit surge in internet traffic volume

Sandvine’s 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report, the recognized authoritative source for global application usage and internet traffic trends, shows that global internet traffic volume increased 23%, due in large part to surging streaming video usage and continued growth in traffic across app categories, including gaming, cloud, VPNs, marketplaces, and conferencing.

In its examination of actual usage data from more than 177 service providers worldwide, Sandvine shows that the “Big 6” (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, and Microsoft) still generate almost half of all internet traffic, with Google and Netflix responsible for the largest volumes.

“Following the historic COVID-driven internet traffic surges of 2020 and 2021, the ‘new normal’ in application usage and volumes seems to be here to stay,” said Sandvine Chief Solutions Officer Samir Marwaha. “The rapid acceleration of digitization led to an enhanced reliance on applications and a rapid evolution toward more sophisticated apps that fuse together multiple functions and features.”

Video Responsible for 65% of Internet Volume

Among Sandvine’s findings, video usage grew 24% in 2022, now equating to 65% of all internet traffic. For the first time, Netflix replaced YouTube as the individual app generating the most traffic, with TikTok, Disney+, and Hulu among the top-10 generating the most traffic volume.

“Video is almost to the point where it can no longer be considered a standalone category, as it’s now integral to conferencing, gaming, social networking, messaging, and virtually all apps that want to drive interactions and engagement,” added Marwaha.

The Industry at an Inflection Point

To keep up with these unprecedented demands, telcos have expedited network upgrades and buildouts. But the onslaught of video, compounded by a growing number of applications with greater demands for latency, bandwidth and throughput, is exerting extraordinary pressure on global networks.

“As different OTT platforms expand their services and raise expectations, they can simply raise prices to fund service improvements, but the telcos that build and maintain the networks on top of which these services ride cannot do the same. It’s to be expected that operators would seek regulatory relief, and the data in this report illustrates why,” said Sandvine CTO Alexander Haväng.

Growing usage, volumes, and complexity, all on top of ever-increasing customer expectations and rigid regulatory structures, have led the telecom industry to a crossroads.

“Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report shows very clearly that internet traffic and application usage will never return to pre-COVID levels,” said CEO Ray Mota of ACG Research, who believes telecom operators will be more targeted about when, where, and how they invest. “Telco service providers have to look beyond basic network functionality and ask more than ‘can my network keep up?’ Instead, they have to ask ‘how can I keep my customers happy?’ By understanding actual quality of experience, they can more efficiently utilize what they’ve got and better target investments where more is needed.”

To get customized network views of the categories and applications found in the 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report, Sandvine can meet individually with service providers seeking to run networks more efficiently, and to build networks around app quality of experience rather than network tonnage alone. To learn more, download Sandvine’s 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report, and contact Sandvine to schedule a meeting at MWC Barcelona.

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Sandvine's cloud-based Application and Network Intelligence portfolio helps customers deliver high quality, optimized experiences to consumers and enterprises.