Projecting a significant surge in the number of internet users in the country, the total number of web users in rural India is expected to reach to about 45 million by the end of 2012, according to the I-Cube Report on Internet in rural India by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB).
While the internet usage in rural areas of the country is expected to rise rapidly by the year end, the active internet usage will be around 38 million growing from the current 31 million users. Though the internet usage is highest in English language, the availability of content in regional languages will definitely push up their usage. With 79 per cent of the 17.8 million users using internet on the English platform, Hindi ranks second with 32 per cent, Telugu at 21 per cent, Tamil at eight per cent and Marathi at five per cent.
The report states that out of the total 118.2 million rural population that was considered, 17.8 million claimed to have used internet at least once in their lifetime, while 14.7 million users have accessed the internet in the last one month. The penetration of claimed internet users in rural India increased from 2.6 per cent in 2010 to 4.6 per cent in 2012, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 73 per cent. On the other hand, the penetration of active internet users witnessed a rise from 2.13 per cent in 2010 to 3.7 per cent in 2012.
Rural India will witness a growth of 18 per cent in the usage of internet for e-commerce over the next one year. As per the survey, e-commerce currently has about 34 per cent of the total usage.
The report also stated the awareness of entertainment and communications usage is the highest, while the online finance and rural needs register least awareness. Though the awareness of social networking is 60 per cent, its usage is at a stagnant 39 per cent. Entertainment is the primary driver of internet use in rural India. 75 per cent of rural users use internet for entertainment accessing music, videos and photos, while 56 per cent use it for communications.
The report also highlighted that mobile phones are fast emerging as an important point of internet access in rural India. The mobile interent users in India grew from 0.5 million