India 2nd only to China with 451 mn monthly active Internet users

With 451 million monthly active internet users as on March 31, 2019, India is now second only to China in terms of Internet users. However, with only 36 per cent Internet penetration, there is still much headroom for growth. These are the findings from the report titled ‘India Internet 2019’, published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI]. 

The report finds that of the 451 million monthly active users, 385 million are over 12 years of age and 66 million are in the age bracket of 5 to 11 years, who access Internet on the devices of family members.

The report finds that in terms of absolute numbers, Urban India with 192 million users has almost the same number of users as rural India. However, in terms of percentages or penetration, given the disparity of population distribution in urban and rural India, Urban India has a considerably higher penetration level. In rural India, a sizeable portion does not have access to Internet, and provides a huge opportunity for growth which will contribute to an increase in the overall Internet population over the next few years. 

At a state level, NCT of Delhi registered the highest Internet penetration followed by Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab. States in the East, except Assam and the North East, have low Internet penetration. 

Among the cites, Mumbai and Delhi top the list with 11.7 million and 11.2 million Internet users' respectively. Bengaluru and Kolkata with 6.1 million users are third, followed by Chennai with 5.4 million Internet users. 


The report also finds that 72 per cent of urban Internet users or approximately 139 million use Internet daily. On the other hand, approximately 109 million or 57 per cent of the rural Internet users’ access Internet daily. According to the report, nearly two-third of the Internet population in India are daily users. 9 out of 10 users in urban access the Internet at least once a week with young users, aged between 16-29 years being the most frequent users. However, there is still a section of users, who use Internet less than ‘once a week’. Approximately 1 in 5 rural Internet users belong to this category. 

In India, nearly one-third of users access Internet for ‘more than one hour’ in urban India, whereas in rural India, a similar proportion of users access Internet for 15-30 minutes. With better connectivity, quality of service and affordability of mobile Internet, there could be an increase in rural consumers spending more time on the internet in future.


The report also indicates that there is a clear gender disparity when it comes to internet usage in India. There is less number of female Internet users in India as compared to male internet users. The female internet users’ population is half of the 258 million male Internet users, and the bias is more evident in rural India. Among States, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have a higher proportion of female Internet users. The split of Male and Female is 60:40 in Metro 50L+ as well.


Two-third of Internet users in India are in the age group of 12-29 years. Interestingly, a higher proportion of this age group is seen in rural India. This is indicative of the fact that there is potential for growth in this segment. The proportion of users in the age group of 30+ years is higher in Metro 50L+ towns, indicating that they are evolved users. 

Point of Internet Access 

Internet consumption at home is still prevalent across urban and rural. However, with one-third of the urban population accessing Internet while travelling, it shows that Internet consumption via mobile devices has worked its way into the daily life of the consumers today and has enabled accessing and sharing of information On the Go. 


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