India's Internet User-Base Will Grow To 627 Million in 2019

CTVKhanhL - Mar 26, 2019, 8:00 am IST

A recent publication by Kantar IMRB suggests that exponential growth in Internet adoption can lead India's Internet user-base to 627 million users in 2019.

With the spectacular growth and advancement of technology in a few short years and how important Internet has become to virtually all of us, it’s no wonder the number of people having access to the Web is rising exponentially.

The number of users in India has already grown past the monumental mark of half a billion. Specifically, it is at 566 million at the moment, driven mostly by the spread of the Internet to rural areas. According to the market research agency Kantar IMRB’s publication on March 6th, this number will grow up to about 627 million by the end of 2019.

Kantar IMRB’s ICUBE 2018 report which tracks the adoption of the digital world and usage trends in India stated that the country has an annual growth rate of 18%. The current estimation of the total number of Internet users as of December 2018 is holding at 566 million. That is a 40% overall Internet penetration.

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The projection for the growth of the Internet for India is optimistic. The number is expected to experience double-digit growth in 2019 and would reach somewhere close to 627 million by the end of the year.

In total, 87% of the country’s user-base (roughly 493 million Indians) are defined as regular users. They are the ones having access to the Internet for the last 30 days; in other words, they are active users. Nearly 293 million of this group is from the urban areas. Meanwhile, the other - about 200 million - are in rural India.

The report also indicated that 97% of active users use mobile phones as the ‘gateway’ to the Internet.

Adoption in urban India is slowing down, probably due to saturation. People in urban areas, for the most part, are already using the Internet one way or another. That is probably the reason why the adoption rate is being spearheaded by those living in rural India. The rate is so high that it accounts for 35% of the past year’s growth.

The estimation is that there currently are about 251 million Internet users in rural areas. By the end of 2019, this number will grow to 290 million.

To explain more about the matter, the report also added: "Increased availability of bandwidth, cheap data plans and increased awareness driven by government programmes seem to have rapidly bridged the digital gap between urban and rural India. Consequently, the penetration in rural India has increased from 9% in 2015 to 25% in 2018.”

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Bihar is registering the highest growth rate in the entire country in both urban and rural areas. It reached a growth of 35% over the last year alone.

Aside from noticing the growth rate between users in the rural and the urban regions, the report also took into account the gender. The revelation is heartening for a country that for a long time has struggled with gender issues. Internet users are becoming more and more gender balanced with women comprising for 42% of the total Internet users.

“It is fascinating to note that the digital revolution is now sweeping small towns and villages perhaps driven by increased accessibility at affordable data costs. The increase in the usage of digital in rural India, where more than two-thirds of active internet users are now accessing the internet daily to meet their entertainment and communication needs," Said Hemant Mehta - Kantar IMRB’s managing director.

As an emerging market, marketers will find much use for this data in their attempt to infiltrate users in urban and rural India.