India Has Lowest Internet Penetration At 17.4%, But Highest User Growth In Asia-Pacific
Asia Pacific region will boast of over 1.33 billion Internet users by end of this year, the largest online population compared to any other region in the world according to latest eMarketer report.
While this is great news for Asia-Pacific region, when it comes to India, the picture is not that good. India has lowest internet penetration of all major countries in Asia Pacific, which currently stands at just 17.4 percent. And, when you make a comparison with other Asia-Pac countries, this number looks even worst.
Countries like South Korea, Japan & Australia close to 80 percent penetration, which means nearly 8 out 10 people in these countries have internet access. Even China has over 50 percent of their population on internet, which equates to over 700 million people!
But there hint of silver lining for India. According to eMarketer report India will see double digit growth till 2018 in its Internet population, highest for any other country in Asia Pacific. By 2018, 26.7 percent of Indians will be on internet (and will still have lowest penetration in the region).
Our Take on Numbers
While currently the internet numbers in India are quite low, we see greater uptake of internet in coming years, especially due to increase of 3G and 4G coverage. With companies like Reliance Jio and others planning to launch 4G is a major way, internet numbers could be much higher than what are projected by the eMarketer survey.
According to them, 2014 will witness maximum rise and then it will gradually taper down. However, we think that internet growth will remain high for atleast next 2-3 years due to rise in smartphones.
Smartphone users now account for 30 percent of total mobile users, which was just 10 percent in first quarter of 2013. This tremendous growth in Smartphones will surely give drastic rise in new internet users. Most of the Indians now access internet only from their mobile phones rather than desktop computers or laptops.
We also think that new pro technology government will take steps to improve internet infrastructure in India, which is a major reason why internet penetration has be severely lagging behind it’s peers.