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Virtual society has few newcomers

01-August-2005
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Virtual society has few newcomers

Internet use growing in depth, not extent: Study.

Try as it might, the Internet in India is failing to put on flab. Its usage has increased primarily in depth, to the extent that the word “netaholic” may soon find a place in the popular lingo.

The spread, however, is another story. Put simply, the growth of the Internet, which began in earnest about a decade ago, is driven more by an increase in use by those already hooked, rather than new additions to the virtual community.

According to a survey by JuxtConsult, a joint effort of Indicus Analytics and Webchutney, only 8 per cent of India’s urban Internet users came in during the last one year. An overwhelming 80 per cent have been online for more than three years.

The survey, one of the largest of its kind, sampled more than 30,000 Internet users in April this year. In addition, there was a 10-city telephonic survey of over 3,000 people.

The survey found the Internet is being used by about 17.5 million urban Indians with some regularity, with another 5.2 million using it sparingly. This puts the Internet penetration in urban India at about 9 per cent. For all of India, assuming marginal usage in rural areas, the penetration level should be about 2 per cent.

In terms of the “depth” of usage, almost a third of the urban users are using it for more than three hours every day. About a third are using it throughout the day and another third logging on at least five times a day.

Advertisers will be happy to note that three out of four net users own an automobile and every second one has a credit card. However, only a fourth of of net users buys online and three-fourths do not like to pay bills online. Even so, that translates to 4.2 million online buyers.

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