Internet usage in BRIC - Statistics & Facts

BRIC is an acronym formed with the initial letters of four fast growing market countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The number of internet users in the BRIC countries is forecast to grow in the next few years. In terms of number of internet users, China and India are clear leaders in the group, thanks to its large population. The number of internet users in China is forecast to increase from just over 700 million in 2016 to around 950 million by 2021. India is expected to have about 635 million internet users by 2021. The number of internet users in Brazil is forecast to amount to 133 million by 2021, while there will be nearly 100 million internet users in Russia by then. Despite the large base of internet users, Brazil and Russia have the highest internet penetration rate in the group. Nearly 60 percent of the population in Brazil accessed the internet in 2015. In comparison, that year, the internet penetration rate stood at 26 percent in India and at just 50 percent in China.

In line with the growth of internet users, the number of social network users in the BRIC countries is forecast to grow. By 2021, India is projected to have about 358 million social network users, and Brazil is expected to have 114 million users of social networking sites. In 2019, it is estimated that there will be nearly 80 million social network users in Russia. India and Brazil have the largest base of Facebook users in the group – 136 million and 103 million as of November 2015. Besides Facebook, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter and Tumblr are the most popular social network sites in Brazil based on unique visitors. Facebook is blocked in China and not as popular in Russia as in other countries. VK (VKontakte) is a popular social networking service in Russia, while QQ, WZone, WeChat and Baidu Tieba are the leading social networking sites in China based on active users.

Another trend in the BRIC countries’ internet usage is the rise of mobile internet. The rapid growth in smartphone and tablet users has helped boost mobile internet use. In China, the number of mobile internet users is projected to increase from an estimate of 630 million in 2016 to 664 million in 2018. Projections are optimistic for the Indian market as well. The number of mobile phone internet users in India is estimated to jump from 323 million in 2016 to 524.5 million in 2021. Mobile internet penetration in Brazil is also expected to grow aggressively, with forecasts to reach about 52 percent by 2021.

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