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Indian internet users now account for over 500 million

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With the availability of the cheapest internet connections in the world, the latest report by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Nielsen revealed that rural India had 227 million active internet users, 10% more than urban India’s about 205 million, as of November 2019.

In addition, there are around 71 million kids, aged 5-11 years, who go online using devices of family members. With this, India has crossed the milestone of having 504 million active internet users who are 5 years old or above — 53 million more than 451 million in March 2019. Active internet users are defined as those who use the internet at least once a month. 

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These figures peg India as the second-largest internet user, only behind China which has about 850 million users. The United States has about 280-300 million users and bags the third place.

As for internet penetration, India stands at 40% compared to over 88% for US and 61% for China, which means mobile companies still have a massive user-base waiting to be tapped out there in the hinterland. 

The report indicated a growth in female internet users which was at 21%, while male users accounted for 9% increase between March and November last year. Around 26 million new female users have taken to the internet and more users are expected to come from the hinterland in the next few years.

The major eight metros accounted for  internet penetration of 65% as of November 2019, compared to 63% as of March 2019.

Some women-centric  platforms like POPxo, have reported an increase in users from small towns and in five local languages including Hindi, Marathi and Bangla. 

According to analytics firm App Annie of Android phones, during the lockdown, mobile games like PUBG, social networks like TikTok and Facebook have witnessed the most number of users. Video conferencing apps like Zoom, for work and to keep in touch family have also been major number churners.

Now, more than ever, the nation is compelled to be ‘connected online’ due to the lockdown and social distancing measures implemented by the government.