Indian Internet Users Set to Reach Almost 700 Million In 2020


When the internet first started entering our homes back in 1995, few people probably imagined that it would become such an intrinsic part of our lives. Today, a staggering 59% of people now have access to the internet, with the worldwide web affecting everything from the way we work to the way we shop.

Internet adoption is increasing in almost every country – and India is no exception. Although India was initially slower to get online, this has changed completely over the last five years, and it’s now the world’s second largest online market after China. According to research by Statista, India is now home to 696.77 million internet users, with this figure expected to increase to a whopping 974.86 million by 2025.

Five years ago in 2015, there were ‘just’ 302.36 million internet users in India. So what’s caused this transformation? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why more Indians than ever are getting on the web.

1.  Increasing Urbanisation

Throughout India, urban expansion is one of the key factors that’s encouraging people to go online. Much like the country’s adoption of the internet, urbanisation was slow and steady to begin with. According to McKinsey & Company, India’s urban population grew by almost 230 million in the 40 years between 1971 and 2008. However, within the next 20 years, an estimated 250 million more people will have joined them – meaning that India’s five biggest states will have a larger urban population than a rural population for the first time ever.

As more people move from the countryside to the cities, the need (and demand) for the internet is growing. Historically, internet coverage in rural areas has been incredibly poor, so urbanisation is both driving and driven by people’s desire to get online. 

2.  India’s Growing Youth Population

We might constantly read about the implications of the world’s aging population – but in India, its population of youths (people aged 24 and below) is larger than anywhere else on the planet.

From finding online games at sites like to finding their latest job on LinkedIn, people in this age bracket are the most likely to use the internet in their daily lives. There are several reasons for this. Not only is India’s growing youth population more likely to live in cities than in rural remote areas, where internet adoption is understandably slower – they’re also more likely to own devices such as smartphones which are driving the need for better internet connectivity.

In fact, there are now almost 450 million smartphone users throughout India, with more than 73% of the country’s online traffic coming from mobile phones and other portable devices.

3.  The Digital India Campaign

The success of the government’s Digital India campaign has also been hugely important in increasing internet adoption across the country.

First launched in 2015, the campaign aimed to improve online infrastructure and help Indian citizens become digitally empowered. To achieve these aims, the government planned to high-speed internet to rural areas and boost people’s digital literacy.

As well as increasing the number of Indians with internet access, Digital India also succeeded in driving a growth rate of 51% in the e-commerce sector and helping financial businesses and hospitals use less paper. 

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