Rural Bharat overtakes urban India in number of Internet users, finds study

01st August 2022
Rural Bharat overtakes urban India in number of Internet users, finds study

New Delhi, August 1 2022:  The state  of Goa has the maximum Internet penetration in India, while  Bihar has  the lowest.
Goa, Kerala and Maharashtra are the top 3  Indian states for Internet penetration with 66%, 63% and 63% respectively. Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are bottom of the list with 36%, 36% and 28%.
There are 692 million active internet users in India. The point of inflection between urban and rural has been crossed: there are  351 million users (  representing a penetration 37%)  in rural versus 341 million in urban areas ( penetration of 69%). Urban India seems to have hit a plateau.
The number of Indians engaged in e-commerce -- 346 milloion-- exceeds the population of the US.
These are key findings of the report titled ‘Internet in India’ released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) along with marketing data and analytics company Kantar.
The report also estimates that there will be 900 million internet users in India by 2025 led by rural growth.
More importantly for internet businesses in India, around 346 million Indians are engaged in actual online transactions such as e-commerce and digital payments, a number which is greater than the total US population estimated at 331 million.
The global pandemic witnessed a record 51% increase in digital transactions in just two years from 230 million in 2019 in India.In terms of gender break-up, there are more male internet users in India than female users, with almost similar gender ratios across both urban and rural users.
Entertainment, Communications and Social media are the top three activities engaged in by internet users across India. While Communications using text and e-mail is the most popular usage, the survey suggests that Voice and Indic languages usage will be the key drivers of growth in the future with two out of five rural internet users having done voice-based activities on their phones.
The penetration of (over the top)OTT services ( ie paid video streaming)  in rural India is at par with that in urban India, however, the penetration of other digital services such as online gaming, digital commerce and digital payments is still skewed in favour of urban users. This reflects a large head room for growth of such services among the rural population.
Around 762 million Indians have not adopted internet yet, out of which 63% are rural Indians. ‘Difficulty to understand the Internet’, continues to be primary deterrent along with lack of awareness, especially in rural India.
For a few days we feature a CNBC TV report on these findings in our Tech Video spot here
‘Internet in India’ report based on the ICUBE 2021 study, covering over 77,000+ households across all states and Union Territories of India (barring Lakshadweep), is an annual report which is the oldest and most comprehensive survey of internet usage in the country.  
IAMAI Release  here