If you think internet users are concentrated in the major metros, then here’s news for you.
A study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB released on Monday shows that the number of internet users in smaller towns have overtaken the number users in major metros.
In 2009, 36% of the total internet users in India were from towns
with population of less than 5 lakh. The Top 8 metros constitute 34% of the country’s internet users.
In 2008, major metros were ahead of small towns by seven percentage points at 37%.
“This finding clearly indicates that the internet has reached to remote masses in urban India,” said the statement issued by IAMAI.
However, Subho Ray, president of IAMAI, said deeper penetration of the Net into the country’s interior would happen only after
applications were available in more languages and the cost of
devices were snipped.
“While we are happy to note that people in smaller towns are taking to internet seriously, for a deeper engagement, we need to provide them the best innovations in the language of their choice, at an access cost that does not pinch and through a device that they have. Only then is this engagement going to be sustainable,” he said.
According to the report, the number of people who claimed to have used the internet jumped 25% in the 2009 to 71 million from 57 million in the year before that.
The report also indicates that Indians are surfing the Net more than before — at 15.7 hours per week last year — compared with 9.3 hours per week in 2008. That’s a steep rise of 70% in time spent online.
The reasons for this huge surge were innovative content delivery, better and wider entertainment including downloading music or videos, socialising through social networking sites and expressing one’s own opinions and views through micro-blogging and user-generated content sites.
The study states that active users, those who use internet at least once a month according the international standards of reckoning, rose from 42 million in September 2008 to 52 million in September 2009, up 19% year-on-year.