50% of Indian women out of e-comm net: survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

Lack of interest, time, awareness seen as key reasons for low penetration

Online sites for buying household goods, clothing, jewellery and even grocery may be sprouting every day, but close to 50 per cent of women in India aged between 18 and 55 years – most of them non-working – see no reason to access the Internet.

According to the survey conducted by Google India called ‘Women & Technology’, only one-third of the 243-million internet population in India is of women.

‘Leisure activity’

“There is a big digital gender gap that exists,” says the survey of 828 women by search engine Google India, adding that many of the women felt they were being left behind by the fast pace of changing technology, and also perceived internet use as a “leisure activity”.

“I find it difficult to keep up with the pace of changing technology,” said a respondent, who is among the 42 per cent that said they did not know how to do things on the internet, apart from a general lack of interest.

Many women also cited lack of time after managing their households, as well as the fear of being judged by in-laws for spending too much time online.

Another big reason is the lack of awareness, said the survey, with 49 per cent of the respondents saying they did not see any reason to access the internet and 43 per cent saying they were not interested.

However, 46 per cent of the non-users admitted they are likely to use the internet soon.

“We are working with various partners to help spread awareness about the benefits of being online amongst women,” Sandeep Menon, Country Head (Marketing), Google India, said in a statement.


Privacy is another issue that concerns many women, since there is an average of five people in every household and computers tend to be shared. “Smartphones and internet cafes could be a cheaper and more private way for women,” said the report.

The survey, which also looked at income and demographic differences between women internet users and non-users, found that those who are online tend to have slightly higher incomes.

Age difference

“Most are younger, single and students. The non-users tend to be slightly older and more likely to be married,” the survey found, adding that the overall attitude of those who aren’t online was, however, “positive” toward technology.

To create awareness, Google India has launched a film to inspire “young digital natives to bring their mothers online”.

Overall, India has low internet penetration at a little over 19 per cent, with the biggest barriers cited as cost, connectivity and time.

Published on May 19, 2015

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