India’s active Internet population likely to reach 900 million by 2025: Report

Hemai Sheth | | Updated on: Jun 03, 2021
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Digital adoption has been accelerated by rural India clocking a 13 per cent growth to 299 million users

India is likely to have 900 million active Internet users by 2025 as against 622 million users as of 2020, registering a growth of about 45 per cent over the next five years, according to IAMAI Kantar ICUBE 2020 Report.

The report suggests that even though the Internet penetration in urban is twice more than that of rural, usership in rural areas has been growing at a faster rate on a year-on-year basis.

While internet users grew by 4 per cent in urban India to reach 323 million users, accounting for 67 per cent of urban population in 2020, digital adoption has been accelerated by rural India clocking a 13 per cent growth to 299 million internet users, accounting for 31 per cent of rural population over the past year.

Potential for growth in rural areas

There is a significant potential for growth in rural areas that would help in bridging the urban-rural digital divide. However, the growth rate of AIU (those who have accessed the internet in the last one month) has progressively reduced over the years and is the lowest in the last four years, the report said.

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As for usage, nine out of ten active internet users access the internet every day. On an average, they spend around 107 minutes actively on the internet daily. Though the proportion of daily users is marginally higher in urban India as compared to rural India, AIU in urban India is spending 17 per cent more time as compared to rural India.

Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice-President, Insights Division, Kantar, said, “By 2025, there will be a more internet users in rural India than in urban India. Given this, the digital ecosystem should evolve to address the needs of this emerging demography. Vernacular, Voice and Video will emerge as the game changers for the digital ecosystem over the next few years.”

Smaller towns also account for nearly two out of five active internet users while the top nine metros account for 33 per cent of the active internet users in urban India. The report further suggests that, of 1,433 million population in India, 622 million individuals are AIU and this translates to about 43 per cent of the total population (across urban and rural India).

“However, with a sizable population not accessing the internet actively in rural India, there is huge headroom for growth in the next few years,” it said.

Gender based internet population

It also analyses the internet population based on gender. As per the report, the proportion of male to female AIU remains almost the same in rural and urban India. In urban India, the ratio between male to female Internet users is around 57:43 while in rural India, the ratio between male to female Internet users is 58:42.

As for the device, users are increasingly preferring mobile which continues to remain the device of choice for accessing the internet in both urban and rural.

“Given the affordability of mobile devices and with the availability of cheaper data plans, accessing the Internet through a mobile device has clearly become the first choice,” the report said.

With digital services gaining increased importance amid the pandemic, the internet has become extremely important.

IAMAI stated that, “the ongoing growth of internet penetration in India provides a critical platform for all stakeholders to harness the digital revolution.”

Published on June 03, 2021

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