The total number of Internet users in India could reach the 150 million mark by December 2012, growing around 10 per cent from 137 million as of June this year. The active Internet users during the same period would reach 111 million, according to a report released by market research firm IMRB and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Urban Vs Rural Internet users
Urban: In June 2012, 99 million urban Indians were using Internet, out of which 80 million were actively using it, according to the report.
Communication turned out to the single largest purpose of accessing Internet in urban India, followed by social networking. Out of the 34million Internet users surveyed (in urban India), 87 per cent used the Internet for e-mail, while 67 per cent of the users accessed Internet for social networking.
Additionally, Internet usage in urban India has seen a steep rise over the last year, with 54 percent of the active Internet users accessing Internet daily. This growth can be attributed to the increased accessibility of rich content on mobile phones and other handheld devices.
Rural: As of June 2012, rural India had 38 million claimed Internet users and 31 million active Internet users. The number of claimed Internet users (in rural India) is expected to reach 45 million by December. Around 12 per cent of active Internet users in rural India were mobile Internet users.
The penetration of claimed Internet users in rural India grew from 2.6 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in June 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 73 per cent, while the penetration of active Internet users grew to 3.7 percent in 2012 from 2.13 percent in 2010.
Unlike urban Indian Internet users, who prefer communication and social networking, entertainment is the primary driver of Internet use in rural India. Around 75 percent of rural users use Internet for entertainment (music, photos and videos) while 56 percent use it for communications.
Subho Ray, president of IAMAI, stated, "This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fibre backbone and local language content is likely to beat all projections of Internet growth in rural areas."
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)