The number of active internet users in India till the end of 2020 was pegged at 622 million. And this number is expected to grow by 45% in the next five years, with the total number of internet users set to touch 900 million.
These numbers emerged in IAMAI Kantar’s ICUBE 2020 report. The user base is growing at a faster rate in rural areas, even though the penetration of internet in urban locations is more than twice that of the rural population. Rural internet usership was up by 13% in the last year and reached 299 million, as against the 4% growth in urban India at 323 million users.
IAMAI, Internet and Mobile Association of India, is the apex industry body for digital entities in India.
Mobile, the preferred choice for accessing the internet
The report said that nine out of ten active internet users access it every day, and on average spend 107 minutes or about 1.8 hours actively on it daily.
The report indicated that there is a “huge headroom” for growth in the next few years, considering a sizable population still doesn’t access the internet actively in rural India.
The report said that smart phones continue to remain the device of choice for accessing the internet in both urban and rural.
“Given the affordability of mobile devices along with the availability of cheaper data plans, accessing the internet through a mobile device has clearly become the first choice,” the report said.
Small towns account for two out of five active internet users, while the top nine metros account for 33% of the active internet users in urban India.
Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Insights Division, Kantar, said, “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.”
The proportion of male to female AIU (Active Internet Users) is almost same in rural and urban locations.
In urban places, the ratio between male to female internet users is around 57:43, in rural areas, it’s 58:42.