The Internet and Mobile Association of India reports that Internet users in the country have topped 100 million. Undoubtedly an important milestone, especially for those who view India as the next biggest market for e-commerce.
It may be too early to celebrate though. For one, of the total population of 1.2 billion, 880 million Indians are literate and only 112 million have accessed the Internet “once in their lives”—and, 97 million users are identified as active. Second, this poor Internet penetration ranks India below its South Asia neighbour, Pakistan.
Further, there is a fundamental difference in the reason why urban and rural users access the Internet. In cities, the overwhelming use is for emails and social media, while in rural India, one out of two users access the Internet for entertainment.
Clearly, there is still a long way to go before India is well on its way on the information highway.
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