Rural population is now driving Internet growth in India as urban India appears to have hit a plateau, a new report showed on Thursday.
There are 692 million active Internet users in India, and much of the growth continues to be driven by rural India (351 million users with 37 per cent).
The urban centres now have 341 million users with 69 per cent penetration, according to the report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and data and analytics company Kantar.
However, around 762 million Indians have not adopted the Internet yet, out of which 63 per cent are rural Indians.
“Difficulty to understand the Internet” continues to be the primary deterrent along with lack of awareness, especially in rural India, the report mentioned.
According to it, nearly 346 million Indians are engaged in actual online transactions such as e-commerce and digital payments, a number which is greater than the total US population estimated at 331 million.
The global pandemic witnessed a record 51 per cent increase in digital transactions in just two years from 230 million in 2019 in India.
“In terms of gender break-up, there are more male internet users in India than female users, with almost similar gender ratios across both urban and rural users,” the findings showed.
The penetration of OTT services in rural India is at par with that in urban India, however, the penetration of other digital services such as online gaming, digital commerce and digital payments is still skewed in favour of urban users.
“This reflects a large head room for growth of such services among the rural population,” said the report.
In terms of states, Goa has the maximum Internet penetration while Bihar has the lowest.