According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the nation will surpass the US as the second largest data user base by December. The body’s study predicts the country will have 402 million people online by that time.
As per IAMAI’s Internet in India 2015 report, this figure signifies a 49% growth in consumers compared to last year. Out of the 402 million, 306 million are supposed to access data services through their handset. The overall user base stood at 300 million in December 2014, increasing to 375 million in October 2015.
The IAMAI study thinks the numbers will further rise to 462 million by June 2016. It thinks this proves that the internet is mainstream in India now, given it took only a year to go from 300 million to 400 million consumers. In comparison, it took 10 years to move from 10 million to 100 million and 3 years to reach 200 million.
India is currently in 3rd place when it comes to the biggest internet user bases in the world. China tops the list with 600 million subscribers, while the US is ranked 2nd. As per IAMAI, the number of people online through their smartphones in the urban part of the subcontinent has increased by nearly 65% to touch 197 million.
Rural India has posted even stronger growth, with a 99% growth compared to last year contributing to a figure of 80 million by October 2015. Interestingly, a survey conducted by IAMAI found that 11.4 million non-data users were willing to utilize the internet within the next 1 year, with 2/3rds of them intending to do so via a phone.
The IAMAI report also dove into the gender divide among internet consumers in India. It discovered that 71% of consumers were male and 29% were female. Consumption of data among men has been growing at 50%, while it stands at 46% for women.