The number of internet users in India has reached 354 million by the end of June 2015. The latest figure indicates that India has more internet users than the population of the US and become the second largest country by the number of internet users after China. According to the report published by the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the internet users in India has grown 17% in the initial 6 months of this year, adding 52 million new users.
Last year, between January and December, India recorded the fastest growth of 32%, to 302 million, in the internet users base. It is interesting to see the growth path of internet users in India. It took almost 10 years for internet user base to grow from 10 million to 100 million. However, in the following three years, the industry added another 100 million and crossed 200 million user mark. In October 2013, the total number of internet users in India reached 205 million and in the following 14 months, the country added another 100 million new users, crossing 300 million users mark in December last year. The milestones clearly indicate the massive growth of internet users in India; it was also reflected in other sectors like digital commerce, social media, digital advertising, and payments.
The unprecedented growth in the internet user base helped eCommerce industry of India to grow by multifold. Startups like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and many other online eStores recorded over 100% YoY growth in their GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) and valuation.
Mobile Internet Users In India 2015
A major boom in the number of the mobile internet users was also been recorded this year. The number of mobile internet users in India also grew from 173 million in December 2014 to 213 million users by the end of June 2014. Nearly 128 million mobile internet users belonged to the urban population of India, the rest 45 million reside in rural areas of the country. It is expected that the mobile internet users in India will grow up to 314 million by 2017.
The number clearly articulate the exploded mobile internet scenario in India. 60% of internet users in India access the internet via their mobile phones now. The number is expected to reach 315 million by 2017, estimates IAMAI-KPMG report.
“Clearly, internet is mainstream in India today,” The advent of low-cost smartphones, coupled with low mobile tariffs, has empowered consumers in the hinterland to use data connectivity and we will be seeing more usage of internet from these areas in the months to come. Also, the increased internet usage will boost digital commerce in India,” says Nilotpal Chakravarti, Associate Vice President of IAMAI.
He also added that the growth of internet users in the rural and non-metros of India would increase tremendously in the coming years. For that, the usage of local language content will help. This can lead up to 39% growth in the present number of internet users in India. While the overall growth is driven by rural areas, the growth of urban internet users is expected to be just 16%.
In June 2015, the local language content’s user base grew at a rate of 47% to 127 million users. According to IAMAI, the use of local language content is the kernel aspect of the growth of internet usage in India. It is the element which is helping to gain more internet users from the rural areas of India.
Despite having recorded a phenomenal growth in the internet user base, India is still lagging vis-a-vis penetration. India is among the top three countries by the number of internet users, mobile phone users, and social media users. With 352 million internet users, India is still at the helm of just 27% penetration while China and the USA have clocked 51% and 87% penetration, respectively.
The low penetration of internet users in India is also responsible for the not-so-encouraging retail e-commerce sales in India. According to a report from eMarketer, retail eCommerce sales in India is expected to account for mere 0.90% of total retail sales in India in 2015.