India likely to have 900 mn active internet users by 2025: Report

56% of all new users will be from rural India by 2025, it says

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Sourabh Lele New Delhi

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As many as 759 million Indians, around 52 per cent of the country, access the internet at least once a month but a digital divide continues among states, said a report on Wednesday.

The number of active internet users in the country grew by almost 10 per cent in 2022, according to the ‘Internet in India Report 2022’, jointly prepared by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR. This is the first time that a majority of Indians have become active internet users. The report estimates that India is likely to have around 900 million total active users by 2025.

In urban India, internet penetration stands near 71 per cent and the number of active users there grew some 6 per cent in 2022. In rural India, internet penetration jumped around 14 per cent over the previous year. Currently, 399 million active internet users are in rural India and 360 million are from urban India. It is estimated that 56 per cent of all new internet users will be from rural India by 2025.

Digital divide continued to plague the positive narrative with a huge disparity in internet penetrations across states. Bihar’s internet penetration (32 per cent) is half that of the leading state Goa (70 per cent).

The report also highlights a gender disparity in internet usage: 54 per cent of users are male. However, it added that 57 per cent of all new users in 2022 were females. Around 65 per cent of all new users to be added by 2025 will likely be women.

In terms of usage, digital entertainment, digital communications and social media continue to be the most popular services in India. Indians are fast adapting social media platforms as the next e-commerce destination, with a staggering 51% YoY growth in Social Commerce.

Internet usage for digital payments has witnessed 13 per cent growth over 2021 to reach an estimated 338 million users, of which 36 per cent are from Rural India. 99 per cent of all digital payment users are UPI users.

The report is based on the ICUBE 2022 study that covered over 86,000 households across all states and Union Territories of India excluding Lakshadweep.

Indians' use of ‘smart’ devices like tablets or streaming increased from 8 per cent in 2021 to 13 per cent in 2022.

First Published: May 03 2023 | 8:38 PM IST

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