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45% growth in active internet users in rural India since 2019: Study

There has been a 45 per cent growth in ‘active internet users' in rural India since 2019, according a study by Nielsen, a global company for audience measurement, data and analytics.

The Bharat 2.0 Internet report said that female active internet users grew by 61 per cent since 2019. The report said that India has 646 million active Internet users aged 2 years and above as of December 2021.

Rural India has 352 million internet users--almost 20 per cent higher than urban. The study also revealed that almost 60 per cent of the rural population is still not actively using the internet, paving headroom for further growth. Urban India on the other hand has registered a 59 per cent penetration growth with 294 million active internet users.

Dolly Jha, managing director, Nielsen India, said that there is the availability of budget smartphones and affordable mobile data along with the Indian government’s efforts to strengthen the existing digital infrastructure. These are through compelling initiatives such as Digital India and powered by one of the cheapest data prices in the world enabled by the Telecom companies.

“These have led to enhanced and faster levels of internet adoption across the country,” said Jha, in an interview. “I do expect that with the launch of 5G happening somewhere this year, there are certain categories which are really going to be seeing a significant upsurge. The government has a very aggressive digital agenda in terms of the number of Gram Panchayats which have to be brought under the ambit of internet adoption. Because all the initiatives which government has built (including) direct benefit to the consumer really hinges on internet connectivity.”

As per the study, the number of active Internet users is 592 million who are aged 12 years and above. Compared with 2019, the active internet user base for 12 years and above has shown an impressive growth of about 37 per cent.

The rural users’ growth at 45 per cent continues to outshine urban users’ growth at 28 per cent over 2019. The female users’ growth in the last 2 years is a whopping 61 per cent as compared to male users who grew at 24 per cent. Also, 1 in every 3 female internet users in rural India, are actively using the internet.


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