India is all set to have 121 million internet users by December 2011

IAMAI’s annual report on Internet in India for 2011 says India will have 121 million internet users by Dec 2011. Some highlights from the press release,

  • Out of 121 million, 97 million would be active Internet users who access Internet at least once in a month.
  • Of the 121 million internet users, 92 million (76%) will be from the urban cities of the country and 29 million from rural areas (23%).
  • Of the 97 million active Internet users, 73 million (75%) will be from urban cities and the rest 24 million (25%) from rural villages.
  • Of the active internet users 48% (46.56 million) used internet at least 4-6 times a week and 28% (27 million)  used it daily.
  • Around one third of young men and working women are heavy internet users in India.
  • Most new users are light internet users (until they get addicted to Facebook??)

Urban-Rural Divide

  • Urban population: 302 million, 38% (115 million) of which know how to use a computer, of which 79% (90 million) use the internet at least once a month (active users).
  • Rural population (aged above 12 years): 603 million, 8% (48 million) of which know how to use a computer, of which 36% (17 million) use the internet at least once a month (active users).
  • More than 75% of the Internet usage is driven by youngsters that include young men (27%), school going kids (21%), college going kids (27%)
  • In the 30 urban cities wherein the survey was conducted, 89% use it to access emails, 71% use it for social networking activities, 64% access it to search education-related content, 55% use Internet for chatting purposes and 49% access videos, music and images.
  • The usage pattern differs among rural Internet users. Among the survey conducted in 7 states, 46% use Internet for accessing music,videos and images, 38% use it for email and communication activities, 29% access it for getting general information and 27% use Internet to access content related to education.

Internet Access Points in India

  • Cyber cafe plays an important role but home usage has grown to 37%.
  • Mobile internet  & cheaper packages from ISPs have helped the usage grow.
  • Urban India has 8.7 million broadband connections, 37.1 million users who utilize broadband.
  • Majority of internet connections in households are broadband connections (82% of 10.7 million connections)
  • Household users: 54% have 256Kbps, 34% have 256Kbps-1 Mbps, 12% have above 1 Mbps.
  • Majority of broadband connections are wired line connections (88%).

Some Definitions

  • Light users: Those who use less than 6.5 hours per week.
  • Medium users: Those who use 6.5 to 16.5 hours per week.
  • Heavy users: Those who use more than 16.5 hours per week.
  • Top 4 Metros: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkota
  • Other 4 Metros: Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune
  • Small Metros (> 1 million population): Patna, Cochin, Baroda, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Indore, Surat, Nagpur, Vishakapatnam, Faridabad
  • Non-Metros (0.5 – 1 million population): Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Raipur, Chandigarh
  • Small Town (< 0.5 million population): Kolhapur, Bellary, Thrissur, Panipat, Gurgaon, Noida

For the first time I have come across figures that talk about users daily & weekly frequency of using the internet. If you look at the daily active user base, which is 27 million, it looks small and there is a good scope of this number growing.

How Can Internet Users Grow Further In India?

I come across many people who can ‘afford’ to buy a PC and get a good broadband connection but they don’t. They ask “What is there for me to get onto the internet?”. I guess Facebook is the answer for now but that cannot (and should not) be the real reason. Possibly having more language content will help to attract a larger section of the society.

What Is Missing In The Report

It would have been useful to get a detailed report about Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. I think the usage of internet in Tier-3 is yet to take off. IAMAI can help the internet community in a big way if they can periodically publish the detailed report covering the user base population, type of internet connections are used in each city. Yes, some of these are available from TRAI reports but they usually release state-wise data and not city-wise data.


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