India is expected to have about 900 million active internet users by 2025.
According to an Internet and Mobile Association of India’s report, this is a 45 percent user growth when compared to 622 million user base as of 2020.
The report further added that even though the internet penetration in urban areas is two times more than the rural area, the usership in rural areas has been witnessing the fastest annual growth.
The report also underlined that the internet users grew by 4 percent in urban India reaching 323 million users (67 percent of urban population) in 2020, digital adoption continues to be propelled by rural India, registering a 13 percent growth to 299 million internet users (31 percent of rural population) over the past year.
This indicates that there’s a lot of headroom for growth in rural India and this 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 findings pointed out.
Small towns account for two out of five active internet users, while the top nine metros account for 33 percent of the active internet users in urban India.
The report underlined that of the 1433 million population in India, 622 million individuals are AUI, translating to about 43 percent of the total population (across urban and rural India).
But, considering that a sizable population still doesn’t actively access the internet in rural India, there is huge headroom for growth in the coming years.
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, a media report added.
“By 2025, there would be a greater number of internet users in rural India than in urban India. Given this, the digital ecosystem will need to evolve to address the specific needs of this emerging demography. Vernacular, Voice and Video will emerge as the game changers for the digital ecosystem over the next few years,” said Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Insights Division, Kantar.
It found that nine out of ten active internet users access the internet every day and on average spend 107 minutes or about 1.8 hours actively on the internet daily.
The proportion of daily users is marginally higher in urban India as compared to rural India, AIU in urban India is spending 17 percent more time as compared to rural India.
The growth in internet access is being driven by mobile devices, both in rural and urban areas, given their affordability as well as the availability of cheaper data plans.
Accessing the Internet through a mobile device has clearly become the first choice, the report added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation not only in India but across the world. People are relying more on the internet for doing their work.
Remote working or the work from home culture is more of what people are adapting to as it is making their lives easier with the restriction in movement.