Report Shows 759 Million Active Internet Users in India in 2022, with Rural India Driving Growth"

Digital payments have also significantly increased, with an estimated 338 million users in 2022, of which 36% were from rural India. Furthermore, 99% of all digital payment users were UPI users.

The Processor
06 May 2023

According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar, over 52% of India's population uses the Internet, making it the country with the highest-ever Internet user presence. The survey, covering over 86,000 households across all states and Union Territories of India (except Lakshadweep), found that India had nearly 759 million active internet users in 2022, representing a 10% year-on-year growth.

Rural India Continues to Drive Internet Growth

The 'Internet in India Report 2022' shows that out of the total active internet users, nearly 399 million are from rural India, while urban India has around 360 million users. The addition of users has slowed down since 2020 to less than 15 percent. In terms of the percentage of internet penetration, urban India has a higher score, with over 70 percent of the population accessing the internet, while rural India scores lower. However, rural India is expected to aid the growth of internet penetration in the next two years, with nearly 56 percent of all new internet users estimated to come from rural India by 2025.

According to the report, almost 100% of users access the internet through their mobile phones. The usage of the internet on other smart devices and screens has also seen a 13% increase in 2022. Despite this growth, the majority of internet consumption is still for digital entertainment and communication, coupled with social media.

Digital Divide Remains a Concern

The report also highlights the digital divide within Indian states, with states like Goa having almost 70% of its population accessing the internet while Bihar has just over 30% internet penetration. The gender divide is also a concern, with male users forming about 54% of the total users. However, the gender gap is expected to narrow, with women catching up. In 2022, 57% of the new users were women; by 2025, 65% of all new users are expected to be women.

Digital Entertainment & Communication Dominate Internet Usage

Digital entertainment, digital communications, and social media are the most popular services in India, with social media platforms experiencing a staggering 51% year-on-year growth in social commerce. Digital payments have also seen a significant increase, with an estimated 338 million users in 2022, of which 36% were from rural India. Furthermore, 99% of all digital payment users were UPI users.

The 'Internet in India Report 2022' suggests that digital penetration has improved not only in terms of spread but also in terms of depth. However, the digital divide remains a concern in India. Telcos are already investing in the rural markets to push digitalisation in India, but continued efforts are needed to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.