Internet users in India likely to top 500 million by June 2018
It has put the number of internet users by June 2017 in the country at around 450-465 million
The total number of internet users in India to reach 500 million by June 2018, a survey jointly carried out by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and Kantar IMRB estimates.
India had estimated 432 million Internet users till December 2016. This, however, doesn’t take into account the impact of demonetisation. It put the number of internet users by June 2017 in the country at around 450-465 million.
The report pegged the overall internet penetration in India at around 32% in December 2016.
"The number of internet users is expected to reach 500 million by June 2018," the report 'Internet in India 2017' stated.
The country had close to 362.87 million broadband subscribers by the end of December 2017, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
The survey, conducted between June and August 2017, covered 60,000 individuals from across 170 cities and 15,000 individuals across 750 villages.
In urban India, the Internet user base has grown by 7% from Oct 2015 to Oct 2016 to reach an estimated 263 million. It is expected to grow to reach user base in a range of 275-285 million by June 2017.
In rural India, the internet users have grown at the rate of 22% between Oct 2015 and Oct 2016, to reach an estimated 157 million. The numbers are expected to reach in the range of 170-180 million by June 2017.
Among urban internet users in India, close to 51% or 137.19 million of internet users are using internet on a daily basis (at least once a day). On the other hand, 242 million or 90% of the urban internet user’s use internet once a month.
Internet users in rural India are not far behind from their urban counterpart in terms of daily internet usages. 48% or around 78 million of the users in rural India are using the internet daily. Half of the users are young men and college students. On the other hand, around 140 million or 83% of the rural internet user’s use internet once a month.
Analysis of ‘Daily Users’ reveal that both in Urban and Rural India, the younger generations are the most prolific users of internet. The gender ratio is slightly better in urban India, while both urban and rural India show almost similar ratios of working and non-working women registering as daily internet users.
While the biggest services accessed in Urban India are online communications (e-mail etc) and social networking, for Rural India, Entertainment (Video/audio content etc) is the main driver of internet consumption. E-commerce services like online ticketing or e-tailing (online shopping) are much more prevalent in Urban India, while these services clearly haven’t made much inroads in Rural India.
The heavy usage of online entertainment and lower usage of communication and social networking in rural India can be attributed to the fact that the users are not online in real-time. Rather, they have the tendency to switching their internet connection, use it and then turn it off once done.
The lack of real-time connectivity is attributed to the fact that the power is not available throughout to keep charging frequently coupled with affordability and quality of service of mobile data in these regions.
It is no surprise that mobile is the most used device for internet access, both in Urban and rural India.
Nearly 77% of Urban users and 92% of rural users consider mobile as the primary device for accessing the Internet. Mobile phones are the primary devices for accessing the Internet across demographics.
In urban India, the usage of internet on Desktops/Laptops are expected to go down further with the most accessed purposes viz. Online Communication, Social Networking and Online Entertainment will be fulfilled using Mobile Phones. The Desktops / Laptops will be used mostly for Office and School work.
In rural India, penetration of desktop/laptops has been historically low; and the sector has leapfrogged these devices to move into mobile, which is the medium of introduction to the internet today.
Different mobile handset manufacturers have focused on introducing low priced handsets and tablets compatible to access the Internet.
More and more companies are getting into this segment and this has resulted in competition primarily basis the retail price and features of the device.
Fall in the rates for internet access due to cut-throat competition among Mobile service providers has also contributed to significant increase in mobile phone as a preferred device for internet access.
Also Read: Real growth potential of internet usage lies in rural sector
The primary point of access for most of the urban internet users today is their home. Compared to 2013, there has been a marked shift in usage, with cybercafés losing importance as more and more users now have internet access in their homes in the form of both broadband/wi-fi connections and mobile data.