India will witness significant increase in frequency and duration of internet access: study

Bengaluru: India will witness a significant increase in the frequency and duration of internet access, with daily internet users surging to 30% this year against the last three years, a recent study by data analytics and brand consultant Kantar showed.

The study has identified some trends that will shape the digital ecosystem over the next three years. E-governance and agri-tech are likely to grow significantly, it said.

E-governance gaining popularity in India_Graphic_ETTECH_2ETtech

“Around 87% of the Indian households will have an internet connection by 2025 and there will be a 21% rise in duration of internet access through mobile since 2019,” the report, titled ‘Digital@2025’, said. “By 2025, more than half of the online shoppers will also buy products from social platforms and half of the urban households will have at least one smart device in addition to the smartphone,” it added.

Last year, Kantar said the number of active internet users in India is expected to
increase by 45% in the next five years and touch 900 million by 2025 from around 622 million in 2020.

Almost a billion active internet users by 2025_Graphic_ETTECHETtech

“So far, there are around 18 million urban households who use smart devices like smart TV, smart set-top box and more, and this is likely to grow to 50 million by 2025,” its latest report showed.

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This will be driven by higher adoption in rural India, which has clocked a 13% growth rate to 299 million internet users over the past year, or 31% of India’s rural population, the report said.

Small towns currently account for almost two out of every five active internet users in the country. However, rural India is still far behind when it comes to digital infrastructure and purchasing power, the report added.

“We are seeing education, health and even e-governance growing in the rural segment; voice, vernacular and video are going to drive internet and technology in the next 5 years,” said Amanjit Singh, senior director, marketing (South Asia) at Kantar, who authored the report.

“Access to formal education has been limited. As we go into smaller towns and rural areas…there we see more centres opening up and there is more participation,” Singh told ET. “Even traditional education or formal schools are incorporating technology and moving digital…we are also seeing the growth of females in online ed-tech platforms,” he added.

Medical technology will become the second largest online shopping category by users, while fashion, retail and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) remain at the top, the report noted.

“Largest is, of course, fashion – which is apparel and footwear and mobile and mobile accessories also, and white goods and appliances are also growing, home decor and FMCG is also on the growth trajectory,” Singh said.

At present, around 54 million users shop for online medicines and healthcare equipment in India.

Singh added that the post-Covid-19 world is seeing an accelerated stream of online shoppers.

“There has been an increase in online shopping even in the post-Covid-19 world. At the same time, use of smart technology, irrespective of Covid-19 has been growing very significantly,” he said.

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