The Internet & #BANNER1 & # in India (I-Cube) report has been released. This report carries the findings of a survey conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), in association with the IMRB. It states that 32 per cent of the active users of the Internet in India rely on it as a primary source of information and research. In 2001, when e-mail and chat were the significant drivers of the Internet, this figure was only 20 per cent.
The survey was conducted for the current fiscal amongst 16,500 households covering 65,000 individuals across 26 major metros and small towns in India, with an additional coverage of 10,000 businesses and 250 cyber café owners. The active users here are those who access the Internet at least once a month.
The survey reveals that there are 37 million Internet users in India, 23 million of them active users. Ever user category is defined as someone who has used the Internet at least once.
This escalation in the number of active Internet users can be seen as a consequence of the new innovations that have taken place in the content space in recent times, in the form of online ticketing, weblogs, product information and preview sites.
The survey brings out some other facts as well. Out of the 13.2 million active Internet users in the 26 surveyed cities, 11.6 million are e-mail users. As per figures till March 2006, there are 2.4 million e-commerce users and around 7.5 million chat users in the 26 cities.
Surprisingly, the survey makes the discovery that the glamour of chat seems to be fading away even amongst the college going segment, with information search emerging as the second most prominent reason for surfing the Internet.
The report also brought out the variations in demographic segments. The survey was conducted among school children, college students, young men, older working women and non-working women. While e-mail continues to be the most popular application used across almost all segments (except for school kids and college students), the other applications are catching up fast.
The growth in the number of users accessing the Internet primarily for entertainment has also been impressive, though its share is still only 8-10 per cent. School children and college students are the key segments in this regard. Online gaming applications, gaming zones in cyber cafes, online movie trailers, etc., have fuelled demand for entertainment applications, especially amongst the younger Internet users.
The report further states that online transactional applications (e-commerce) are steadily gathering steam. Young men, older men and working women are using these applications the most. These segments, along with the non-working women segment, are also using the emerging job and matrimonial websites in significant numbers.
Commenting on the report, Subho Ray, president, IAMAI, says, "The quality time that the active users are spending on the Internet is a result of the growth in information, transaction and entertainment. This is a good sign for content-based platforms. This also indicates that while communication tools such as e-mail and chat will attract new users to the medium, mature users will look for content and transactions."
Mohan Krishnan, vice-president and general manager, IMRB International, says, "There will be a change in the Internet dynamics. Applications like P2P, preview sites, streaming video and radio, as well as localisation of content, will outgrow e-mail and chat. Hence, innovative applications, making a user's experience simpler and fulfilling, will be required to sustain the growth of the number of Internet users."
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