Mumbai, May 7 2020: Net usage in India is now growing faster in the rural areas rather than urban areas. This is the key finding of leading data, insights and consulting company Kantar which has just released its latst report on digital adoption and usage trends in India, “ICUBETM 2019”. Rural India has registered Internet growth at 45%, while Urban India is growing at 11%.
In media parlance, rural India is "Bharat", which is why they are talking of Bharat overtaking India.
Estimated at 574 million, the number of monthly active Internet users in India have registered an annual growth of 24% indicating an overall penetration of 41%.
The report projects 11% growth for 2020 and estimates 639 million monthly active Internet users
About 84% users access the Internet for entertainment purposes. 2019 witnessed a surge in OTT, both audio and video, probably driven by original contents and Cricket (both IPL and Cricket world cup streamed on OTT Platforms). Convenience of content availability across devices and on the low cost Internet service resulted in a significant growth in the entertainment consumption in the last year. This is expected to continue in 2020 too, especially in view of the lockdown.
At 38%, school going children segment in the age group of 15 years or below has shown a promising growth on the internet usage. Access to information and education, social media, gaming and entertainment, especially, Sports, are driving the adoption.
Content is the king and is driving the surge in daily internet usage. ICUBETM 2019 reports a growth of more than 60% in the daily Internet users in the last one year; almost 9 out of 10 active internet users were accessing the internet daily owing to entertainment and communication needs.
India’s digital revolution continues to be propelled by the rural masses — Rural India registered a 45% growth in the monthly active internet users in 2019. It is now estimated that there are 264 million internet users in rural India, and this is expected to reach 304 million in 2020. Local language and video are the underlying factors for the internet boom in rural. The rural population has finally crossed the point of a chasm by embracing the Internet in a big way, resulting in a 2.5X growth in penetration in the last 4 years.
Looking ahead: Children and housewives will be the new Internet adopters in the next year or two. Most of these users already have Internet at home, and it will be more about breaking the mindset barriers to access the web. With the availability of curated content for these groups, the adoption will be considerably faster amongst these segments.
Video, Voice and Vernacular (3 Vs) will be significant usage factors for the Internet users. These will drive higher engagement and frequency of usage, thereby, helping the users mature in their Internet journey.
IOT and Smart Devices will make the internet as much a household phenomenon as it is an individual phenomenon.
Says Puneet Avasthi, Senior Director, Insights Division, Kantar:“The latest edition of Kantar ICUBETM 2019 report shows that the digital base in India has achieved a strong growth with the addition of over 112 million users last year. The new decade is expected to witness the next wave of Digital India aided by the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has catalysed the speed at which the already connected consumer is getting further connected with devices, payments, e-medicine, etc.”
ICUBETM is an annual syndicated study of Kantar to measure the reach and frequency of Internet usership in India. Launched in 1998, the study is in its 22nd year. The data collection for the study was conducted between May to August 2019.