The number of Internet users in India is expected to reach 500 million by June 2018, according the ‘Internet in India 2017’ report published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar IMRB. In December 2017, the Internet users in India was estimated to be 481 million with 35 per cent overall Internet penetration of the total population. This is a growth of 11.34 per cent over December 2016 estimated figures.
The urban India estimated to have around 295 million Internet users as on December 2017, a growth of 9.66 per cent from December 2016. Rural India witnessed a growth of 14.11 per cent, according to the report. It is estimated to have around 186 million Internet users as on December 2017. The report attributes a higher growth rate of Internet users in rural India to low base effect.
Coming to Internet penetration, it stands at 64.84 per cent and 20.26 per cent in urban and rural India respectively, in December 2017. In December 2016, it was 60.6 per cent for urban India and 18 per cent for rural India in December 2016. “Given that total Urban Population is much lower than total rural population, the Urban-Rural Digital divide is actually more acute than what the penetration numbers portray,” the report reads.
The report points out that 295 million of 455 million people in urban India are already using the Internet. Meanwhile, rural India, with an estimated population of 918 million as per 2011 census, has only 186 million internet users. Out of an estimated 281 million daily Internet users in urban area, about 182.9 million or 62 per cent access internet daily. In comparison, only 98 million or 53 per cent people in rural India use the Internet daily.
Female Internet users consist of 30 per cent (143 million) of total Internet users. The ratio between male to female Internet users is 64:36 among rural Internet users. “The proportion of Internet users by gender in Rural India has seen much change over last year with Internet users among rural females growing steadily. The increasing gender parity in internet usage is a welcome development,” the report adds. Students and youngsters account for around 60 per cent of all Internet users in India.