NEW DELHI : Internet adoption in India is picking up faster than we had imagined. India had 451 million monthly active internet users as on 31 March 2019, which is second only to China’s 800 million+ user base, claims a new report ‘India Internet 2019’ by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) in collaboration with Nielsen Holdings.
According to IAMAI, this is their first ever report on the internet users in India, which tracks the monthly active internet users, and not the overall internet users in India. The earlier IAMAI reports tracked the overall users of Internet in India.
Out of the 451 million users, 385 million belong to the age group of 12 years and above, while 66 million are aged between 5 and 11 years, suggesting that a significant number of India’s demographic on internet are actually school children. These users do not have their devices and rely on devices of parents or other family members for their internet related requirements.
Despite the smartphone penetration and availability of 4G services at shoestring prices across India, there is a huge gender disparity that still exists in terms of internet usage by women. The report shows that total number of female internet users in India is surprisingly half of the 258 million male Internet users. In rural areas, the gap gets bigger with only 28% female users getting accessing to internet.
The rural urban divide seems to have blurred in terms of internet users. The report claims that urban areas account for 192 million users and the number is the same in rural areas as well. However, internet penetration in rural areas in still low as a huge chuck of the rural population still doesn’t have access to internet. The overall Internet penetration in India is still only 36%.
Also, the time spent on internet by urban users is more than their rural counterparts. The report claims that 33% of rural the users spent more than one hour on internet, while the same percentage of users in rural areas spent only 15-30 minutes.