75 per cent of new Internet users will come from rural areas
As rural India adopts Internet in increasing numbers, web users in the country are expected to more than double to 730 million by 2020, a Nasscom report said on Wednesday.
'The Future of Internet in India', compiled by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies, pegs the Internet base in the country at 350 million in end-2015.
India, which has Internet user base next only to China, will remain the fastest growing market, the report said, adding that 75 per cent of new Internet users will come from rural areas.
An overwhelming majority (75 per cent) of these new users are expected to consume data in local languages.
"India's Internet consumption has already exceeded the US to become number two globally... By 2020, the Internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the hinterlands of the country, helping create more opportunities for everyone," Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said.
Increasing Internet penetration in the country is also fuelling growth of online shopping, which is estimated to account for two-thirds of the total e-commerce market, edging out travel.
According to the report, the overall e-commerce market in India was valued at $17 billion in 2015-16. By 2020, it is expected to reach $34 billion with 175 million individuals transacting online.
"By 2020, India will have an estimated 702 million smartphones in use and mobile phones will emerge as the preferred device for shopping, accounting for 70 per cent of total online shopping," it said.
Online travel bookings will also continue to gain traction with 50 per cent of travel-related transactions to be made online by 2020.
Another major beneficiary of the Internet growth would be financial technology in the country, the report estimates.
Overall, India's fintech market is expected to grow 1.7 times between 2015 and 2020, it said.
Funding has also gained momentum in the Indian fintech industry. Nasscom estimates funding in fintech start-ups in 2015 at $420 million, 10 times that of $40 million invested the previous year.
"The go-to-market strategy for gaining new users will have to be different as these customers will consume more audio and video content than text," Nasscom head research Achyuta Ghosh said.
Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters