Total internet users projected to reach 627 mn by end of 2019: Kantar IMRB report

MUMBAI: The total internet users in India is projected to grow at double-digit to reach 627 million users by the end of 2019, according to a report by market research firm Kantar IMRB today released its ICUBE 2018 report on digital adoption and usage trends in India.

The number of Internet users in India has registered an annual growth of 18% and is estimated at 566 million as of December 2018 which is 40% overall internet penetration.

Of the total user base, 87% or 493 million Indians, are defined as regular users, having accessed internet in last 30 days. 293 million active internet users reside in urban India, while there are 200 million active users in rural India. Unsurprisingly, 97% of users use mobile phone as one of the devices to access Internet

While internet users grew by 7% in urban India, reaching 315 million users in 2018, digital adoption is now being propelled by rural India – registering a 35% growth in internet users over the past year. It is now estimated that there are 251 million internet users in rural India, and this is expected to reach 290 million by the end of 2019.

Increased availability of bandwidth, cheap data plans and increased awareness driven by government programmes seem to have rapidly bridged the digital gap between urban and rural India. Consequently, the penetration in Rural India has increased from 9% in 2015 to 25% in 2018.

Bihar registered the highest growth in Internet users across both urban and rural areas; registering a growth of 35% over last year. This is closely followed by Orissa.

The report suggests that the Internet more gender balanced now. Kantar ICUBE 2018 reports that women today comprise 42% of total Internet users and are also equally engaged and active in the digital world – spending as much time as men.

Kantar South Asia CEO Preeti Reddy said, “The Internet is transforming the way consumers and marketers interact with each other in today’s digital world. Kantar IMRB’s ICUBE which has tracked the digital evolution in India for last 20 years, provides key measurement metrics necessary for planning any digital marketing or communication initiative. ICUBE continues to provide government, policy makers, digital businesses, marketers and communication specialists the intelligence necessary to stay on top of the developments across different facets of digital platforms and services.”

IMRB MD media and digital Hemant Mehta said, “The latest edition of Kantar IMRB ICUBE report shows that today the digital base in India is growing by over 75 million users each year – as much as the entire population of Germany. It is fascinating to note that the digital revolution is now sweeping small towns and villages perhaps driven by increased accessibility at affordable data costs. What is also particularly interesting, is the increase in the usage of digital in Rural India, where more than two-thirds of active internet users are now accessing the internet daily to meet their entertainment and communication needs. Marketers have a big opportunity today where they can use digital to reach their consumers – both in urban and rural India.”