Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Internet users expected to rise to 900 million by 2025 from the current base of 759 million: Report

May 6, 2023

Fifty-two percent of Indians, over 759 million, are ‘active’ internet users, accessing the internet at least once a month and the number is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025, a new report says.

The ‘Internet in India Report 2022’, jointly prepared by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company says, this is for the first time that the majority of Indians have become active internet users.

The report also points out that out of 759 million ‘active’ internet users in India for 2022, 399 million are from rural India, while 360 Mn are from urban India, indicating that rural India continues to drive the growth in the country.

Urban India, with approximately 71% digital penetration witnessed only 6% growth, with much of the overall gain in numbers coming from Rural India which witnessed 14% growth rate over the past one year. It is estimated that 56% of all new internet users in India will be from Rural India by 2025.

Digital divide, however, continues to plague the positive narrative with a huge disparity in internet penetrations across states, with Bihar (32%) having less than half the level of internet penetration than the leading state Goa (70%), the report said.

Even though the gender divide persists till date with 54% Male users, it is heartening to note that 57% of all new users in 2022 were females. It is estimated that by 2025, 65% of all new users will be women, which will help correct the gender divide.

The report suggests that digital penetration has improved not only in terms of spread but also in terms of depth. For instance, while 100% of users access the internet via mobile, the use of Other Devices (tablets, streaming devices, ‘smart’ devices) has witnessed a considerable rise over 1 year (from 8% in 2021 to 13% in 2022) as Indians proactively adopt new technologies and services.

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

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

Internet in India’ report based on the ICUBE 2022 study, covering over 86,000+ households across all states and Union Territories of India (barring Lakshadweep), is an annual report which is the most comprehensive survey of internet usage in the country. The report is jointly prepared by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company.

Girja Shankar Kaura

The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.