Ru­ral India to drive next phase of growth in in­ter­net us­age

Rural & Marketing - - UPDATES -

De­spite a mod­er­a­tion of growth in ur­ban in­ter­net us­age, the num­ber of In­dian users will cross 450 mil­lion by June, says a re­port, In­ter­net in India 2016, jointly pub­lished by In­ter­net and Mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of India and IMRB.

The re­port says while ur­ban India has close to 60 per­cent in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion, ru­ral ar­eas will drive the next phase of growth with just about 17 per­cent pen­e­tra­tion. Out of the 432 mil­lion in­ter­net users in India as of De­cem­ber 2016, 269 mil­lion are from ur­ban ar­eas, while 163 mil­lion be­long to the coun­try’s hin­ter­lands. By June, the to­tal num­ber of users is ex­pected to be 450-465 mil­lion.

The re­ports sug­gests that fu­ture growth poli­cies must fo­cus on bridg­ing the dig­i­tal di­vide be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral India. There are still 750 mn po­ten­tial ru­ral users who must get ac­cess to the in­ter­net.

On a brighter side, gen­der par­ity in in­ter­net us­age in ru­ral India has been in­creas­ing. The pro­por­tion of in­ter­net users among ru­ral fe­males is grow­ing at 30 per­cent. Cur­rently, the ra­tio be­tween male to fe­male in­ter­net users is 75:25. The gen­der ra­tio is slightly bet­ter in ur­ban India, while both ur­ban and ru­ral India show al­most sim­i­lar ra­tios of work­ing and non­work­ing women reg­is­ter­ing as daily in­ter­net users.

The youth are the most pro­lific users of the in­ter­net in both ur­ban and ru­ral re­gions.

While on­line com­mu­ni­ca­tion, tick­et­ing, shop­ping and so­cial net­work­ing drive con­sump­tion in ur­ban India, the ru­ral pop­u­la­tion spends most time on en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing video and au­dio con­tent. Lack of real-time con­nec­tiv­ity, power out­ages, af­ford­abil­ity and qual­ity of mo­bile data ser­vice have been cited as ma­jor im­ped­i­ments to ru­ral boost.

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