Only 13% of existing internet users in India prefer to read in English

Juxt ConsultingPremier research company JuxtConsult has released its report “India Online 2009” [presentation] last week. I am particularly interested in what they have to say about Indian languages every time. There is just one mention about languages in this report.

According to their report in 2007 only 28% Internet users in India prefer reading content in English. In 2009 only 13% of existing internet users prefer to read in English. It would be useful to see  a more detailed report on languages.

Popular languages on the internet are – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. But the majority of the language pie is occupied by Hindi and the 4 South Indian languages – has all these 5 Indian languages.

User Base is More Active Than Before

  • ‘All’ internet users down at 47 million (39 million urban, 8 million rural)
  • Drop of 6% from last year (lapse of around 3 mn occasional users)
  • Just 10% growth in ‘regular’ users base*, reaching 38.5 mn (33 mn urban)
  • +3.5 mn regular ‘urban’ users over last year, +0.4 mn regular ‘rural’ users
  • 28% growth in ‘daily’ internet users (+7 mn in last 1 year to reach 32 mn)
  • A large percentage of Internet users reside in Tier II and III cities and villages. 29% of the 47 million Internet users live in metros, 24% stay in tier II cities and 47% of the users live in Tier III cities and villages.

Internet Access Point

  • Cyber cafe user base to shrink to 6% of all internet user base – the report doesn’t mention by when.
  • Users access the net most from their offices (68%)
  • However, the ‘preferred’ access point is home (37%)

I recently visited my hostel in SJCE, Mysore. I was surprised to see hostelites having broadband connection in their rooms [image]! Each Airtel broadband connection was shared by 8-12 hostelites. They were using the net mainly for games. This was the first time I saw ‘serious’ internet usage outside of  offices, homes and cyber cafes. The speed was slow though, Airtel should be introducing ‘student’ packages and give these connections at lower prices, that way the sharing could improve from 1:12 to 1:4.

What Is Missing in Indian Languages?

I have been writing often about Indian languages on the internet in India. What could be really missing?

  • Awareness – while majority of surfers want to read non-English content they are not aware of the ‘existence’ of language portals (I am not exaggerating when I make this statement)
  • Search engines need to do a lot more to handle Indian languages
  • Language portals need to continuously innovate, like any other vertical and make things more interesting for language readers.
  • Advertisers need to start using language creatives to get better results.

When it comes to languages this report will grab the attention of many (you know who I am talking about!)


  1. Does it mean that Email is not even in top 10 things people do online? Or has the report missed it out? Sounds funny, no?


  1. […] to JuxtConsult majority of internet users in India are interested in languages. They are sure to welcome this new feature from […]

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