New Delhi: The internet user base in India has exceeded 500 million mark and is likely to reach 627 million by end 2019, according to a newly released Kantar IMRB ICUBE report.

The number of internet users is estimated to be 566 million as of December 2018, registering annual growth of 18%, said the report on digital adoption and usage trends in India.

The report finds that 87% of the total user base, or 493 million Indians, are defined as regular users, having accessed the internet in the last 30 days. Of this, 293 million active internet users reside in urban India, while there are 200 million active users in rural India. Not surprisingly, 97% of users access the internet on their mobile device.

According to the report, digital adoption is now being propelled by rural India and figures show that it has registered 35% growth in internet users over the past year. It is now estimated that there are 251 million internet users in rural India, and this is expected to reach 290 million by the end of 2019.

Increased availability of bandwidth, cheap data plans and increased awareness driven by government programmes seem to have rapidly bridged the digital gap between urban and rural India. Consequently, the penetration in rural India has increased from 9% in 2015 to 25% in 2018

The report claims that Bihar shows the highest growth in new internet user additions across both urban and rural areas; registering a growth of 35% over last year. This is closely followed by Orissa.

Another key finding of the report is that the internet is now more gender balanced than ever before. Kantar reports that women today comprise 42% of total internet users. Besides their sheer presence in the digital universe, women are also equally engaged and active in the digital world – spending as much time on the internet as men.

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