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Number of internet users in India grows by 8% to 51 million: Juxt

by Satrajit Sen

A survey by market research firm Juxt reveals that the number of internet users in India has increased by 8 per cent to 51 million (40 million urban and 11 million rural), as compared to 47 million (39 million urban and 8 million rural) in 2009. According to Juxt, the number here includes both ‘regular’ and ‘occasional’ users of internet as well as ‘computer’ and ‘mobile’ based internet users.

by Satrajit Sen

A survey by market research firm Juxt reveals that the number of internet users in India has increased by 8 per cent to 51 million (40 million urban and 11 million rural), as compared to 47 million (39 million urban and 8 million rural) in 2009. According to Juxt, the number here includes both ‘regular’ and ‘occasional’ users of internet as well as ‘computer’ and ‘mobile’ based internet users.

The findings of the study, titled India Online Landscape 2010, are based on two parallel offline and online surveys conducted by Juxt during April-May 2010. The offline survey was conducted among 259,341 individuals from 37,024 households in 100 cities and over 20,396 households in 1,040 villages spread across all the four regions of the country. The online survey was conducted among 12,294 active online Indians.

The survey shows that the number of mobile internet users in the country has increased by 120 per cent from 5 million in 2009 to 11 million in 2010. “This might look bright from the mobile context but from the internet context, the number is not that good because most of the users are dual users who use mobile as a complementary device to a PC for internet usage,” Sanjay Tiwari, Director and CEO, Juxt observed. He also informed that only 1.7 million people are currently using only mobile as a medium to access internet.

Sanjay Tiwari further said, “Since the computer industry is not yet marketing the product as a lifestyle and entertainment device, it is important for the internet to move beyond PC to some other affordable access device. Unless internet migrates from being a PC-based medium to some other device, the growth will be slow in India.”

Tiwari also felt that it would not be easy to drive internet growth through mobile phones as most of the activities carried out on mobile are social networking and emails. “Indians are social in a different way and the people who are thinking that mobile will drive internet usage in India as in the West, are in for a surprise,” he said.

When asked if slow growth of internet usage in urban India may be a sign of its reaching a saturation point, Sanjay Tiwari said, “Even in urban India the usage of internet is still not out of its nascence stage, so it is too early to even talk about urban internet usage having reached a saturation point. One possibility is that occasional users might have found internet as irrelevant and could have moved out of it.”

According to Sanjay Tiwari, the internet content in India needs to go vernacular to get a wider adoption of the Net. “Music downloads is a huge activity online and majority of the songs are vernacular. But the medium is not and so only those people who understand well the process of downloading are doing it and not others. The language of communication needs to get vernacular so that a person who is not well versed in English can also download music, or other relevant content for that matter, from the internet,” Tiwari said.

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