Internet Users in India: Statistics and Data (2024)

India, the world’s largest democracy, has experienced significant growth, largely driven by the Internet. Initially used for education and research starting from 1986, public access to the Internet began on August 15, 1995.

Internet adoption was sluggish until JIO entered into the telecom industry in 2016, which revolutionized the landscape. In that year, India had 346.3 million Internet users. Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed, with recent estimates surpassing 821 million users as of January 2024, constituting 55% of the population.

This post delves into the current Internet user scenario in India, including trends from previous years, covering aspects like download speeds, demographics, social media usage, and more, offering a comprehensive overview.

Internet Users Statistics in India 2024 (Editor’s Picks) 

  • In January 2024, India had over 821 million Internet users.
  • The Internet penetration rate in India was 55% of the total population in early 2024.
  • As of the beginning of 2024, around 630 million people in India hadn‚Äôt used the internet. This indicates that 45% of the population remained offline at the start of the year.
    • Ookla‚Äôs data highlights Internet connection speeds in India at the start of 2024:
    • Median mobile Internet speed via cellular networks: 100.65 Mbps.
    • Median fixed Internet speed: 62.07 Mbps.
  • In 2024, Ookla observed a noteworthy rise of 9.51 Mbps (+19.4%) in fixed Internet speeds across India. This data reflects a consistent upward trend, underscoring the ongoing progress of India’s digital infrastructure.

Internet Penetration in India Statistics

  • In January 2024, there were 821 million Internet users in India, accounting for 55% of the total population.
  • This represents an increase from 2023 when there were 692 million Internet users in India.
  • The growth of Internet penetration in India has been driven by several factors, including the 5G deployment, free 5G services, increasing affordability of 5G smartphones, the expansion of mobile broadband networks, and the government‚Äôs efforts to promote digital literacy.
  • Till early 2024, we saw a significant change in the internet usage demographic, where Rural India has more internet users than Urban India. Out of the total internet users in India, more than 50% of users come from rural areas.
  • The most popular activities on the Internet in India are social media, online shopping, and watching videos.
  • India is expected to have over 1 billion Internet users by 2025, making it the second-largest Internet market in the world.
  • The growth of Internet penetration in India has been driven by the increasing affordability of smartphones. In 2023, the average price of a smartphone in India was around $150, making it much more affordable than in previous years.
  • The expansion of mobile broadband networks has also played a role in growing Internet penetration in India. In 2023, there were over 1.1 billion cellular mobile connections in India, of which over 900 million were 3G or 4G connections.
  • The government of India has also taken steps to promote digital literacy in the country. In 2023, the government launched the Digital India program, which aims to connect every village in India with broadband Internet and to train 500 million Indians in digital skills.

Source: Kantar, IAMAI, DataReportal

How is the Growth of Internet Penetration Impacting India’s Economy?

The rise of internet access in India has brought numerous benefits to the nation. India stands out globally for its rapid adoption of 5G technology, outpacing many other leading economies. This advancement has notably enhanced sectors like education, healthcare, and financial services, while also fostering business growth and job opportunities. However, alongside these benefits come challenges such as the proliferation of misinformation, hate speech, and the heightened threat of cybercrime. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure the continued positive impact of internet penetration in India.

Source: OOKLA

Internet Usage Statistics in India By Category 

A study by DataReportal reveals that over 90% of Indian internet users access the web to watch videos or movies. If we break down the statistics further, we see that most video watchers prefer to watch ‚ÄúHow To guides‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúeducational‚ÄĚ videos.

A good number of shares also belong to users accessing Social media (61.5)  and listening to music (61.3%). Interestingly, with the introduction of AI chatbots, numerous Internet users in India started using platforms, like Google Gemini, ChatGPT, etc. However, their usage percentage is lower compared to other activities. According to various ChatGPT statistics data, India is second in web traffic by country list and the same goes for Google Gemini as well.

Here is a table showing how Indians are using the Internet:

Internet Users Watching Videos/Movies92.7%
Internet Users Playing Online Games91.7%
Internet Users Using Search Engine85%
Internet Users Shopping Online Weekly59.3%
Internet Users Using Social Media Platforms61.5%
Internet Users Listening to Music61.3%
Internet Users Watching Educational Videos40.2%
Internet Users Using Online Translators30.8%
Internet Users Watching How-to-do Videos/Tutorials26.2%
Internet Users Using Voice Assistant25.7%
Internet Users Using Banking/Insurance/Investment Apps/Websites23.9%
Internet Users Using “Buy Now, Pay Later” Services16.6%

Source: DataReportal

Demographic Breakdown of Internet Users in India

1. Internet Penetration Rate in India by Location

LocationIndiaUrbanRural
Penetration %557053
Population Count

(in Million)

821578442

Internet Penetration in India

2. Internet Users Statistics in India by Gender

  • 54% of Internet users in India are male.
  • 46% of Internet users in India are female

The divide between the usage of the Internet by men and women has narrowed down significantly in recent years.

Gender-Specific Internet UsersMaleFemale
54%46%

languagesThe gender gap in Internet access in India is slowly narrowing. Before 2023, only 31% of Internet users in India were female. However, this number has increased to 46% in 2024.

3. Internet Users in India by Age Groups

The growth of Internet penetration in India has been accompanied by a shift in the age demographics of Internet users. Previously, Internet users were predominantly young and male. However, as the cost of Internet access has declined and the availability of smartphones has increased, we have seen a significant increase in the number of older people and women using the Internet.

Age groupPercentage of Internet users
12-17 years old19%
18-34 years old14%
35-54 years old40%
55 years and older26%

Age

4. Internet Penetration in India by States

States with the highest Internet penetration in India

StatesNumber of Users (in %)
Goa 73%
Maharastra69%
Kerala69%

States with the lowest Internet penetration in India 

StatesNumber of Users (in %)
Bihar37%
Uttar Pradesh41%
Jharkhand46%

32 places

Sources: Kantar, Statista

Digital India Statistics

‚ÄúDigital India‚ÄĚ is an initiative launched by the Government of India to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The program was launched on July 1, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Its primary goal is to ensure that government services are made available to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and increasing Internet connectivity across the country.

The initiative aims to achieve a few key objectives including the development of digital infrastructure and digital literacy, making governance more efficient, transparent, and accessible, promoting digital empowerment, boosting the electronics manufacturing industry, and strengthening cybersecurity measures.

  • As of 2024, India has over 1.1 billion wireless subscribers, up from 952 million in 2015.
  • The number of smartphone users in India has also increased significantly. As of 2023, a total of over 600 million people owned a smartphone and this number is expected to reach 1 billion by 2026.
  • The Government of India introduced The Digital India Act 2023, which aims to build a secure and inclusive online environment. It focuses on empowering citizens, enhancing digital infrastructure, promoting literacy, and bridging rural-urban digital disparities.
  • The government has also launched several initiatives to promote digital literacy in India, including the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA), which has trained over 4.8 crore students in digital literacy. Under this scheme, a total of 4.3 lakh training centres have been opened across the country.
  • The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is the leading digital payment platform in India, with over 13,440 million transactions (by volume) worth Rs 19.78 lakh crore facilitated till March 2024.

Sources: TRAI, I&B Ministry, PMGDISHA, NPCI

Digital India: Predicted Transformation of India’s Economy by 2030

The Digital India program, initiated by the Central Government, has significantly enhanced several sectors, fostering heightened business activities nationwide. It has streamlined the process of starting new businesses and has made conducting business operations easier. Many think tanks have predicted tremendous growth in multiple sectors in India by 2030.

Sectors Estimated Growth Potential (in Billion $)
Financial Services  $421.48 billion 
Agriculture  $600 billion 
Education $300 billion 
Retail  $325 billion 
Logistics  $484.43 billion 

Internet Penetration in Indian States (Top & Bottom)

Sources: Deloitte, MEA, Mordor Intelligence, McKinsey & Company

Internet Usage Statistics in India by Devices and Platforms

  • In 2010, there were only 545.05 million wireless users in India. By 2024, the number of wireless users in India has grown to 1.16 billion. This represents a growth of over 200% in just 14 years!
  • 96.6% of internet users in India use many types of mobile devices to access the internet. Out of which, smartphone users are 94.7%, feature phone users are 4.7%, tablet users are 16.5%, etc.
  • The growth of mobile Internet users in India is being driven by several factors, including:
    • The increasing affordability of smartphones
    • The expansion of mobile data networks
    • The government‚Äôs Digital India campaign
  • The rise of mobile Internet has had a major impact on the lives of Indians. It has made it possible for people to access information and services that were previously unavailable to them. It has also created new opportunities for education, employment, and entertainment.
  • In 2024, 78.62% of India‚Äôs Internet traffic was generated from mobile phones, whereas, it is 20.95% for laptop/desktop users, and 0.43% for tablet users.
  • On average, an Indian Internet user spends about 6 hours and 45 minutes online every day, with most of that time dedicated to social media platforms. Among these platforms, Instagram has become extremely popular in India, largely because of its feature called “Reels.” Various Instagram statistics data indicate that the platform has approximately 362.9 million users in the country.
  • The most popular activities for mobile Internet users in India are:
    • Watching videos
    • Using social media
    • Shopping online
    • Making payments
  • The rise of mobile Internet has had a major impact on the Indian economy. It has created new jobs, boosted e-commerce sales, and made it easier for businesses to reach customers.

Source: DataReportal

India’s Mobile Connectivity: A Statistics Overview

1. Global Ranking Improvement

  • India climbed 31 places on Speedtest‚Äôs mobile rankings, moving from 47th in 2023 to 16th in March 2024.
  • Median download speeds increased by around 100%, rising from 50.21 Mbps (2023) to 105.85 Mbps (March 2024).

2. Improved Mobile Performance Across Telecom Circles

  • While 5G networks have been rolled out by telecom companies throughout India, 4G networks have encountered difficulties. These challenges stem from factors such as high population density, infrastructure limitations, and constraints on available spectrum.
  • Out of all the networks, JIO leads the average download speed with 52.9 Mbps followed by Airtel with 26.6 Mbps.
  • Regional differences in 5G download speeds are noteworthy. In the Northeast, speeds average at 249.7 Mbps, while in Jammu and Kashmir, they peak at 292.4 Mbps, as of October 2023.

State of 5G Worldwide 2022 vs 2023

2022

The state of 5G 1

2023

The state of 5G 2

3. Leadership in 5G Speed and Adoption

  • Jio and Airtel initiated 5G technology adoption in October 2022, expanding coverage nationwide.
  • Median 5G download speeds, initially below 100 Mbps in some circles, clocked 690.6 Mbps across all areas.
  • The average download speed of 5G is 18 times faster than that of 4G networks.
  • In 2023, 5G availability in India increased from 28.1% in Q1 to 52.0% in Q4, marking a significant 23.9% growth.
  • Jio reported over 90 million 5G customers; Airtel claimed over 65 million by December 2023.
  • On average, 5G users in India consume about 3.6x more data than 4G users.
  • As of March 2024, India had over 4.3 lakh 5G base stations, a substantial increase from 53590 in January 2023.

4. Remarkable 5G Speeds

  • Improved Video Start Times:
  1. Reliance Jio’s 5G network achieves a video start time of 1.14 seconds, while Airtel’s clocks in at 1.29 seconds.
  2. In comparison, the video start times for Reliance Jio’s 4G LTE network were 1.99 seconds, and for Airtel, it was 1.73 seconds.
  • Enhanced Gaming Experience:
  1. Reliance Jio records a median latency of 77 milliseconds, while Airtel’s median latency stands at 92 milliseconds.

Sources: OOKLA, Opensignal, OOKLA – India 5G Report, TRAI, NOKIA, DOT – Ministry of Communications

Internet Usage Statistics in India by Different Patterns

‚ÄėThe Year in Search 2023: India‚Äô report by Google defines the time spent on various Internet service-based platforms as the redefining of value. According to the report, the curiosity of netizens saw quite a hike in 2023.

According to Google, 2023 was a landmark year for India. The search for Changrayaan 3 success to G20 Meeting led the ‚ÄėWhat Is‚Äô search queries. When it came to the News searches, Karnataka Elections and Israel News were the top searches among Indians. Whereas, people showed keen interest in self-care and technology with searches for ways to prevent sun damage for skin and hair with home remedies leading the ‚ÄúHow to‚ÄĚ search section. Coming to the sports-related searches, cricket dominated the whole list with IPL, Cricket World Cup, Asia Cup, and WPL topping the charts.

1. Top Keyword Searches in India In First Quarter 2024

Traffic Share of Top Social Media Platforms in India

 

2. Top Keyword Searches in India In 2023

Traffic Share of Top search in India

Source: Google Trends

3. Online Services

    • Searches for ‘buy mutual funds’ increased by 15.68% from 2022 to 2023.
    • In the financial year 2023, India had approximately 425 million online gamers, with a quarter being paying gamers.
    • In terms of digital payments, rural India stands out, with 38% of internet users utilizing payment apps for transactions.
    • Out of all Web Browsers available in the market, Google Chrome is the top browser used by 87.1% of internet users, followed by Opera and Safari with 4.1% and 2.5%, respectively.
    • 13.3% of total internet users in India own any kind of Cryptocurrency.
    • There is an increase of 13.1% in internet users availing Digital Treatment and Care.

Sources: Techmagnate, Statista, Kantar, DataReportal

E-Commerce Platforms Usage Statistics in India

  • The total number of e-commerce platform users in India matches up to 230‚Äď250 million as of 2023.
  • The value of e-commerce sales in India is expected to amount to a brilliant $111 billion in 2024.

Top E-Commerce Platforms in India

Platform Monthly Visits in Millions
Amazon India657.1
Flipkart302.1
Samsung81.2
IndiaMART66.5
Myntra62.7

Top E-Commerce Platforms in India (Pie Chart)

Sources: Bain & Company, Semrush, IBEF

Social Media Usage Statistics in India

  • In January 2024, India had a total of 462.0 million social media users.
  • This number accounted for approximately 32.2% of the total population, though it‚Äôs important to consider that social media users may not be unique individuals.
  • It’s noteworthy that Internet users are spending 23 minutes less each day online, with the average daily time now at 2 hours and 26 minutes.
  • In terms of social media users, there’s a higher representation of males, accounting for 68.6%, while females make up 31.4% of the user base.
  • When we look at the statistics of YouTube users in India, Google Ads reports that around 462 million users are using the platform.

Top Social Media Platforms in India

Platform  Traffic Share (in %)
Facebook 30.95
Instagram 25.68
WhatsApp11.05
X (Twitter)9.51

Top Social Media Platforms in India (Pie Chart)

Source: SimilarWeb, DataReportal

Internet Usage and Regional Variations

  • In India, 57% of urban internet users opt to browse online content in languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and others, rather than in English.
  • Languages with high and mid conversion ratios include Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam for the former, and Hindi and Kannada for the latter. However, Gujarati, Marathi, and Bengali fall into the category of low conversion ratios.
  • The most common online activities among users of Indic languages include watching videos, listening to music, communicating, using social media, shopping online, and conducting searches. These activities are listed in descending order based on their percentage of engagement.

Language-Specific Internet Users in Urban India

LanguageUsers in Percentage
English43%
Hindi24%
Tamil6%
Marathi3%

Language Specific Internet Users

Source: Kantar

How Are Small Businesses Harnessing the Power of the Internet?

According to various reports, online businesses in India are expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2030.  This growth is attributed to:

  • India has the second-largest number of internet users in the world, with over 821 million users. This number is expected to grow to 1.5 billion by 2029.
  • Over 96.6% of internet users in India access the internet through their smartphones. This makes it easy for people to start and run businesses online, even if they don‚Äôt have access to a computer.
  • The online retail market in India is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $325 billion by 2030. This provides a large and growing market for online businesses to sell their products and services.
  • According to the GoDaddy Data Observatory India report, 55% of small businesses were started in the last 5 years in India. Out of which, 62% of small businesses have a website, online store, or eCommerce platform to grow their business.

Different Sales Channels Used by Small Businesses

Sales ChannelsPercentage (in %)
Business Website/Own Online Store/eCommerce62%
Social Media55%
Phone46%
Business Website (non eCommerce)41%
Physical Location41%
Online Marketplace34%

 

Different Sales Channels Used by Small Businesses1

Sources: Temasek, Bain & Company, Statista, DataReportal, Deloitte, GoDaddy

Global Internet Users Statistics 

The world population in 2024 is around 8.08 billion, out of which 5.35 billion people use the internet. This means over 66% of the global population is now connected to the Internet. According to DataReportal, the global internet population has grown by 1.8% in the last 12 months.

Internet Usage Statistics by Country 

Topping the list, 94.7% of internet users globally use the internet to visit chatting and messaging apps/websites. 

Social networking platforms and search engine sites/apps are in the 2nd and 3rd spot with 94.3% and 80.7%, respectively.  

The below table will show the top 5 websites/apps that Internet users visit per month globally.

Websites Visited% of Internet Users
Chat and Messaging94.7%
Social Network94.3%
Search Engines80.7%
Shopping and Auctions74.3%
Maps, Parking, or Location-based services54.4%

Global Internet users

Internet Penetration Rate by Country 

The global average internet adoption rate is 66.2% and the Netherlands dominates all countries in this category with a 99% adoption rate. Followed by Switzerland and Norway with 99% and 99%, respectively.

Here is the table of the top 10 countries with the highest internet adoption rate in the world.

CountryInternet Adoption Rate
Netherlands99%
Switzerland99%
Norway99%
Saudi Arabia99%
Ireland99%
U.A.E99%
Denmark99%
Sweden98.1%
U.K97.8%
Malaysia97.4%

highest Internet Adoption rate

Source: DataReportal

Government Initiatives and Policies

The government’s Digital India Campaigns, initiatives, and policies collectively strive to improve digital accessibility, literacy, and empowerment across various segments of the Indian population, promoting the use of digital technologies for personal, educational, and economic development.

  • Digital India Act 2023: The Digital India Act 2023 aims to establish a legal framework for India‚Äôs digital ecosystem, addressing online safety, trust, and accountability. It promotes open internet, provides remedies for cyber offenses, and ensures compliance with evolving technology trends.
  • National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM): Launched under the Digital India campaign, NDLM aims to provide digital literacy training to at least one person in every household. It offers training modules to help people use digital devices and access digital services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA): This initiative aims to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate by imparting digital education to individuals in rural areas, enabling them to use digital devices and access online services.
  • BharatNet Project: Formerly known as the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN), this project aims to provide broadband connectivity to all gram panchayats (village administrative units) in the country, promoting Internet access in rural areas.
  • Rural ICT Infrastructure Project: Spearheaded by the Ministry of Rural Development, this project aims to establish Community Information Centers (CICs) in rural areas to provide access to information, digital services, and government schemes.
  • National Digital Library of India (NDLI): This initiative provides free access to a wide range of educational resources, including books, articles, and other materials, to promote digital learning.
  • SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds): An online platform offering free courses from school to university level to ensure equitable access to quality education.
  • Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA): Launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), DISHA focuses on providing digital literacy and skills training to government employees.

Challenges in Internet Access

Internet access has seen significant growth in recent years in India, but several challenges still affect widespread and equitable access to the Internet. Some of the main challenges include:

  • Digital Divide: There is a significant disparity in Internet access between urban and rural areas. While urban centres generally have better Internet infrastructure and connectivity, rural areas often face limited access due to inadequate infrastructure and lower awareness of digital technologies.
  • Infrastructure: Despite improvements, Internet infrastructure, including broadband connectivity and high-speed networks, still needs to be developed in many parts of the country, particularly in remote and rural areas.
  • Affordability: Internet services can be relatively expensive for many individuals, especially in lower-income segments of the population. The cost of devices, data plans, and lack of competition in some areas can make it difficult for people to afford regular Internet access.
  • Lack of Digital Literacy: Many people, particularly in rural areas, lack the necessary digital skills to effectively use the Internet. This can hinder their ability to access information, services, and opportunities available online.
  • Geographical Challenges: India‚Äôs diverse geography poses challenges for Internet infrastructure deployment, particularly in hilly, remote, and difficult-to-reach areas.

Wrapping Up

All the data we discussed above proves that India has made significant developments when it comes to internet penetration across its landscapes. For the first time, rural India has overcome the urban population in terms of the number of Internet users. With the fastest deployment of 5G and early development of 6G, the Government of India ensures our country stands out from all the developed countries in the World in embracing the latest technologies. However, various challenges must be addressed swiftly to make the Internet reach each citizen of India and make our country a truly digital one.

Tushar R Behera

Tushar is a reader and a good observer, which he reflects in his writings to make his content more authentic.He has a knack for choosing interesting and informative topics to write about, making his writing all the more enjoyable. He always tries to provide authentic information through his content by doing detailed research.

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