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Numbers Revealing India’s Love for the Internet

How does your day typically start? After snoozing your alarm a couple of times, the first thing you probably do is cringe at the unwelcome preachy WhatsApp messages on the family groups. Or you probably check your Facebook notifications (where your friend has tagged you in yet another meme). Notice how heavily dependent we are on the internet? Well, turns out Indians are in love with the internet. Here’s some solid data to throw light on the internet consumption in India.

As per a report developed by IMRB International and the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the overall reach of internet in India is around 30%. However, the numbers reveal how addicted Indians are to the internet when you consider the population separately in the rural and urban areas.

Rapidly growing internet user base

As per the 2011 census, about 269 million of the urban Indians out of the total population of 444 million use the internet. The rural India, on the other hand, accounts for a little over 900 million of the entire population, out of which 163 million use internet.

While the internet penetration level in urban India is close to 60%, only 17% rural Indians use the internet. If this untapped section is reached out effectively, the number of internet users in India can easily witness an upward spiral. And who knows, we might even surpass China and become the largest smartphone market in the world!

Mobile phones continue to be a mass favourite, and is heavily used by urban Indians to stay connected to the virtual world while enjoying quick access to emails and not to forget, the ease of online shopping. The users in rural India appear to be exploring the magical tool to mostly watch videos and listen to their favourite songs at their fingertips. However, one interesting trend to notice here is that rural India has leaped directly to the mobile era, and skipped the desktop-laptop era of accessing the internet.

Thriving smartphone market

According to another report by Counterpoint, a market research company, the global growth rate for the smartphone market was 3% in December 2016. However, the Indian smartphone market observed a massive growth of 18% during the same time period!

Right from turning to Google on your phone for a quick grammar check or looking up reviews for that new restaurant in the neighbourhood, mobile devices hold the top spot for generating the most amount of traffic to any site or app. In fact, there is not much difference between the percentage of rural and urban Indians using the internet on a daily or monthly basis.

The growing dependence on smartphones to access the internet is also catching the attention of internet giants like Google, who is spending more time, effort and money in developing mobile-friendly elements.

In fact, Google has rolled out an exclusive version (presently available to a few users) called ‘mobile-first’, which aims to make their search index primarily use a site’s mobile version to rank it in the results. This feature is expected to make the desktop versions of websites the secondary source of information for the search engine. The update is expected to be officially announced over the next few months.

Will this new update by Google further strengthen the mobile market and internet consumption in India? What does predictive analytics say about it? Tell us via comments!


Manipal Global Academy of Data Science offers cutting-edge learning solutions in the field of data science. MGADS faculty comprises of academicians, data science experts, and IT professionals to guide you in today’s competitive environment. If you are keen on becoming a data scientist, MGADS will equip you to do the same.


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Antwan Piontek

Thank you for posting this awesome article.I really liked your site and will definitely share this on my Instagram.Thanks a lot for a great article!


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