Internet usage in India - Statistics & Facts

With over 560 million internet users, India is the second largest online market in the world, ranked only behind China. By 2021, there will be over 600 million internet users in India. Despite the large base of internet users, only 17 percent of the Indian population could access the internet in 2015. Even then, this was a consistent increase when compared to the previous few years, when the internet penetration rate stood at approximately 10 percent. At the same time, almost 71 percent of the internet users in the country were noted to be men, compared to just 29 percent of female internet users.

With over 282 million people or roughly 21 percent of the country's population, it was seen that a majority of India's digital population accessed the internet via their mobile phones in 2016. Mobile internet usage and access varies on certain socio-economic conditions including urban and rural regions in the country. As of 2016, India had an estimated 262 million mobile internet users living in urban communities, and 109 million living in rural areas.

One aspect wherein India shares the characteristics of other global internet users is its passion for social media. It was estimated that by 2021, there would be around 400.3 million social network users in India. A significant increase from 2016, when this figure stood at about 168 million. Furthermore the share of Indian population that access social networks is expected to jump from 22 percent in 2017 to over 26 percent in 2019. Amongst all of the social media available, Facebook was the most popular social networking site. In fact, with about 166 million Facebook users in the country, India has the largest user Facebook user base in the world. Other popular networks include WhatsApp, Google+, and Skype.

With an estimated 44 percent digital buyer penetration in 2016, online shopping is also a popular activity of Indian internet users. Retail e-commerce sales in India were forecast to increase from just over six billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to approximately 25 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. Mobile shopping has also gained space in the country with almost 49 percent of Indian consumers stating that they regularly use their mobile phones to purchase goods or services. This share is way above the global average of 38 percent as of 2016 – and the second highest figure in the world, only behind China. Clearly, the advent of internet has been embraced by Indians and has proved to be a gamechanger in the country's digital as well as social economy.

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Internet usage in India

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