Internet research firm, JuxtConsult, has released the findings of its annual study, India Online 2009, which tracks the usage and preferences of Internet users in India.
Interestingly, the study claims that the total number of Internet users in India has gone down from 49 million in 2008 to 47 million in 2009.
Of the 47 million users, 39 million consumers stay in urban areas, while 8 million reside in rural places.
The total number of Internet users includes regular users, who surf at least once a month and occasional users, who log on at least once a year. Users who surf the Internet on a daily basis are also regular users.
On the other hand, the number of regular users has increased by about 10 per cent, from 35 million in 2008 to 38.5 million in 2009. The number of daily Internet users has also gone up from 28 million in 2008 to 32 million in 2009.
Tiwari thinks that that the rise in number of regular users may be a result of conversion of some occasional users to regular ones.
The study also shows that a large percentage of Internet users reside in tier II and III cities and villages. While 29 per cent of the 47 million Internet users live in metros, 24 per cent stay in tier II cities and 47 per cent of the users live in tier III cities and villages.
Of the regular Internet users, about 5 million also surf the Internet on mobile phones. About 80 per cent of the users are in the age group of 19-35 years.
The most popular activities online among regular Internet users are: search for travel products (84 per cent); job search (71 per cent); search for non-travel products (68 per cent) and instant messaging (67 per cent). Other popular activities include checking news and sports, dating or friendship, checking cricket scores and matrimonial search.
Among the most used websites are Google and Yahoo - 35 per cent and 25 per cent surfers, respectively, regularly log on to these sites. Rediff and Indiatimes stand much lower and are used by 4 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively, of 38.5 million users.
Popular video sharing portal, YouTube is used by only 0.5 per cent of regular Internet users. Social networking portal, Orkut is used by 7 per cent of 38.5 million internet users.
The study also lists the most used websites for specific online activities among the regular surfers.
Yahoo is the preferred site for email (45 per cent users), instant messaging (38 per cent), online news (21 per cent), net telephony (28 per cent) and mobile content (12 per cent). Gmail is also among the most used sites for email (44 per cent users).
Google is the most used website for information search in English (76 per cent), search in local languages (34 per cent) and cinema tickets (19 per cent).
Orkut is the most used website for friendship and dating (38 per cent), sharing pictures (26 per cent), social networking (53 per cent) and professional networking (24 per cent). Of the regular users, 24 per cent also prefer to use LinkedIn for professional networking.
Among the classified websites, Naukri is used by 44 per cent of regular Internet surfers for job search. Makaan is the most used site for real estate (23 per cent) search, while Bharatmatrimony is the most used portal for matrimony (37 per cent users) search.
YouTube is most used website for video sharing (32 per cent), while Raaga is the most used website for listening or streaming music (16 per cent).
In the online shopping space, IRCTC is the most used website for online travel purchases (43 per cent) while Ebay.in is the most preferred site for non-travel purchases (25 per cent).
ICICI Bank's website is the most used site for Net banking (31 per cent users) and ICICI Direct is used by 28 per cent users for online share trading.Moneycontrol.com is the most preferred site for financial news and information (22 per cent users).
India Online 2009 is based on a land survey conducted between December 2008 and January 2009. The respondents comprised 135,000 individuals from 16,000 households in 40 cities and over 12,000 households in 480 villages, spread across the country.
The Internet usage dynamics, such as the time spent on the Internet, frequency of usage, and how consumers access the Internet are based on a sample of over 50,000 active online panel members with JuxtConsult.
Findings on popular online activities and website preferences are based on an online survey conducted in February and March 2009, among more than 12,500 respondents of the 50,000 active online panel members of JuxtConsult.