India is expected to have 730 million internet users by 2020, with more than seven out of 10 new users emerging from rural areas, said a new report by software industry lobby NASSCOM and Akamai Technologies, Inc on Wednesday.
Currently, India has over 400 million internet users. While 75% of next 300 million users will be those living in rural India, the equal number of new Internet users will consume data in local languages, it said.
India, which already has second largest internet user base after China, will remain the fastest-growing internet market, the report said. Globally, by 2020, more than half the population will have access to internet, with total user base reaching 4.170 billion.
“India’s internet consumption has already exceeded USA to become No. 2 globally. By 2020, the internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the hinterlands of the country, helping to create more opportunities for everyone,” said R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM.
The rapid growth of the internet, the report notes, will catapult the growth of sector including e-commerce, travel and hospitality, public sector, financial technology and media.
“With the rise of digital natives and the increased adoption of smartphones, Internet penetration in India will stretch beyond the large cities, as more services and devices come online. This is also a great opportunity for enterprises to harness the power of the Internet to innovate and scale operations,” said Sidharth Malik, Vice President and Managing Director, India, Akamai Technologies.
According to the report, the overall e-commerce market in India is valued $17 billion in FY 2016. By 2020, India will have an estimated 702 million smart phones in use which will emerge as the preferred device for shopping, accounting for 70% of total online shopping, the report said. As for the travel sector, 50% of travel transactions will be online by 2020. Another key impact of rapidly growing internet will be on financial technology (Fintech) segment, which is expected to grow 1.7x between 2015 and 2020.
"In times to come, while mobile will be a key access device, larger devices will continue to be important in areas like education and business," the report said. "Multiple stakeholders will need to work in tandem to bring the next generation of Internet users (rural based, mobile centric, local language focused) online in India.”