The number of Internet users in India has reached 205 million in October this year, registering a Y-o-Y growth of 40 per cent over last year, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International. The number is expected to reach 213 million by the end of this year.
According to the report, named I-Cube 2013, India will have 243 million internet users by June 2014. It means that by that time, India will overtake the US as the second-largest internet base in the world. China currently leads with more than 300 million internet users, while the US has 207 million.
"In India internet took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and only three years from 100 to 200 million. From here on, we can hope to develop a robust internet ecosystem with a multitude of local and global players and a thriving Internet economy," said IAMAI chairman Rajan Anandan.
According to the report, the number of internet users in urban India was 137 million in October and is estimated to touch 141 million by December this year. Interestingly, rural India has witnessed a y-o-y growth of 58 per cent of active internet users since June 2012. In rural India, there were 68 million users in October and is estimated to reach 72 million by December.
The number of mobile internet users has also witnessed a steady rise, with 110 million mobile internet users in October, and is estimated to reach 130 million by the end of this year. In June, there were 91 million users accessing the internet on mobile devices, with 70.2 million users in urban India. This number rose to 85 million in October and is estimated grow by 47 per cent and reach 103 million by December.
Rural India is not that far behind in this regard with a base of 21 million mobile internet users in June 2013. It reached 25 million in October and will touch 27 million by December. Mobile usage and hence, mobile internet usage has seen huge jump from the 2012 penetration levels. Compared with 0.4 per cent mobile internet users in 2012, the penetration has grown to 2.4 per cent.
The report said more than 50 per cent of the urban users access internet daily. However, this high frequency usage is not restricted to only the youth and the working men. The habit of accessing the internet daily is seen among other demographic segments as well, including older men and non-working women.
In rural India, 70 per cent of the active internet users also access internet using mobile phones, while 32 per cent use internet only through mobile. The community service centres and cyber cafes are the main point of access for 40 per cent of them.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)