2 min read

Internet usage in India

Every startup needs to do some market research while working on their next big idea. And part of this market research is looking at demographic and economic data to find out the size of your target audience.

For most of those who are reading this, the audience probably is people who use computers. Now, how do we find out such numbers? That’s where the Internet and Mobile Association of India steps in with their “Internet in India 2007” report (PDF).

Some of the high-level overviews from that report:

  • The numbers are based on a survey across 30 cities and 65000 individuals.
  • The breakdown of the urban population is explained nicely in this funnel graphic:
  • 70% of people who know how to use computers have accessed the Internet at least once.
  • 70% of these at-least-once users become regular users.
  • Claimed internet users have risen from 32.2 million in 2006 to 46 million in 2007.
  • 38% are from the Top 8 urban cities, 12% from 5-10 lakh population cities, and 29% from 2-5 lakh population cities!
  • Young Men and College Students are the major chunk of the growing Internet user base.
  • There has been a decrease in usage by older men and non-working women.
  • PC ownership increased by 48% last year! Thanks to slashed PC prices.
  • With Government of India declaring 2007 as the Broadband Year, Internet ownership has increased by 32% last year!
  • The difference in increase of PC ownership (48%) vs. increase in Internet ownership (32%) is probably because of broadband penetration and availability
  • 36% use a cyber-café, 30% from home, 25% from office, 7% from school/college and 2% others.
    • The cyber-café is still the most prominent point of Internet access.
    • This is a valuable data point to consider regarding security when designing applications – people are NOT necessariliy using their own desktops all the time.
    • Usage from home and cyber-café has decreased vs. Usage from office and schools/colleges has increased. Note that these are percentages, the absolute numbers might paint a different picture, but I couldn’t find them in this report.
  • Usage can be classified into three broad categories:
    1. Communication – Email, chat
    2. Infotainer – Gaming, news, blogs, encyclopedia
    3. Sticky applications – Online banking, online ticketing, online shopping
  • 61% state communication as the main reason they access the Internet. 25% for information and e-commerce. And 13% for entertainment.
    • What’s interesting is that percentage of people with information as the main reason has decreased from 32% in 2006 to 20% in 2007.
    • I’m guessing that percentage of entertainment will increase with better broadband access.
  • 2/3rd of users access Internet 2-3 times a week.
    • 25% access daily, 19% 4-6 times a week, 23% 2-3 times a week, 18% once a week, and rest 15% about a few times a month
    • (It should be strange for us always-on people to see 75% of people not use it on a daily basis!)

These are very interesting numbers. I wonder how they compare with the growth graphs of Internet-advanced countries such as USA or Japan.

The IAMAI have many more interesting reports on topics such as Online Banner Advertising Market in India, Consumer E-commerce Market in India, Online Gaming in India, Mobile Value Added Services in India, and so on.