India will have 121 million internet users by the end of this year, according to the annual I-Cube joint report by consulting firm IMRB and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) published Monday.
Out of the 121 million users, 97 million will be active users, defined as those who access the Internet at least once a month, the report said.
The report said that of the 121 million users, 92 million will be from urban areas and 29 million from rural regions, and that among the 97 million active users, 73 million will be urban and 24 million users will be rural.
India crossed the 100 million-user mark in September, “a critical landmark for the country,” according to IAMAI. “With this, Internet use in India is expected to enter a critical period of growth with the possibility of becoming the largest Internet-using country in the world in in this decade.”
The report found that 48% of active users used the Internet at least four to six times a week and that 28% used it every day.
As in previous years, common access points like cyber cafes continue to be important, but there has been a dramatic falloff in access from cyber cafes. Access from home is now the dominant mode of access at 37%. This category has grown at the cost of both access from cyber cafes and access from offices, the report said.
According to the report, more than 75% of Internet usage is still being driven by children and young adults (school-age children 21%, college students 27%, young men 27%).
Some of the other interesting facts that emerged from the report include:
- Data from a survey conducted in 30 cities reveal that 89% people use the Internet to access email, 71% use it for social networking activities, 64% access it to search education-related content, 55% use it for chatting purposes, and 49% to access videos, music and images.
- The pattern of use differs in rural areas. Conducted in seven states, the survey found that 46% use the 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 it to access education-related content.
- Internet usage in smaller towns continue to spike above Top 8 metros with a combined usage of more than 60%.
- Of the active users in urban cities, 26.3 million access the Internet through their mobile phones. This has been the most recent change in the access behavior, and the trend is expected to continue.