20% more internet users in rural India than urban areas; strong upsurge in female internet users in villages: Study

India has 646 million active internet users aged two years and above, of which 352 million are in its villages. Female users’ growth in the last two years is a whopping 61% as compared to male users who grew at 24%.

20% more internet users in rural India than urban areas; strong upsurge in female internet users in villages: Study

A strong upsurge in the number of female active internet users has been reported across rural India. Photo: Abhishek Verma

Rural India has a 20 per cent higher presence of internet users than its urban counterpart with 352 million internet users in villages. The country has 646 million active internet users aged two years and above. This was revealed in a recent study titled Bharat 2.0 Internet Study released by Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics.

The study also revealed that female users' growth in the last two years is a whopping 61 per cent per cent as compared to male users who grew at 24 per cent. One in every three women internet users in rural areas is actively using the internet.

"Nielsen's Bharat 2.0 Study showcases a strong upsurge in the number of female active internet users across rural India, this coupled with rural India's willingness to adopt technology at a faster pace," Dolly Jha, managing director, Nielsen India, was quoted in its statement issued yesterday on May 5.

"Availability of budget smartphones and affordable mobile data along with the Indian government's efforts to strengthen the existing digital infrastructure through compelling initiatives such as Digital India and powered by one of the cheapest data prices in the world enabled by the Telecom companies, have led to enhanced and faster levels of internet adoption across the country," she added.

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The survey was conducted across all Indian states between September 2021 and December 2021 covering nearly 110,000 members in 27,900 households of the country.

Although 90 per cent people access the internet on a daily basis, the study found that almost 60 per cent of the rural population is still not actively using the internet, paving headroom for further growth.

Video watching and listening to online music are among the top five activities done on the internet. Close to 440 million users watch videos on the internet of which 54 per cent users are from rural India. The Male to Female split among active internet users is 60:40.

Despite 56 per cent of active internet users belonging to rural India, online shopping remains to be heavily dominated by its urban counterpart.

Meanwhile, users of Online Banking and Digital Payments have been identified as urban, affluent users with two third of the users belonging to the age bracket of 20 to 39 years. While the usage is higher in urban areas, 46 per cent of its users are from rural India. This activity is more common among males as the male to female divide is 69:31.

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