A survey conducted by MBL Techno Search, the IT/telecom research division of the international research company NFO MBL India, more and more people are using the Internet for leisure activity and are no longer accessing the Internet at office anymore. But while the number of Internet users is all set to increase to 52 lakh by July 2001 and Mumbai emerges as the most Net savvy city in India, there is bad news for dotcoms awaiting online revenue: the number of people buying on the Net has actually gone down.
The purpose of the survey was to track the Indian online community and to understand the Internet penetration, usage, and online behaviour of the Netizens in top eight cities in the country, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chennai.
As per the findings, the Internet user population in India more than doubled from 12.7 lakh in 1999 to reach 31.9 lakh in 2000. The exponential growth in the number of users is expected to continue and reach 52 lakh by July 2001. Mumbai, with 6.5 lakh Netizens is the most Net savvy city in India. It is followed by Bangalore (5.3 lakh), Delhi (5.2 lakh), Chennai (4.9 lakh), and Hyderabad (4.3 lakh).
Occasional users exceed the number of regular surfers: As per the research, 16.3 lakh people are regular users of the Net, who surfed the Net at least once in the week preceding the survey-this figure is double of the number from last year figure of 8.6 lakh. Meanwhile, the number of occasional users, or people who accessed the Internet once in three months, preceding the survey, has grown to twice as fast as the number of regular users, to reach 15.6 lakh in 2000 from 12.7 lakh in the year 1999.
As per the study, majority of the Netizens (72 per cent) are males, even as the number of female users has increased from 26 per cent in 1999 to 28 per cent in 2000. The Indian Internet user population is also getting younger with the number of users in the age group of 15-24 years increasing to comprise 51 per cent of the total Net surfers, from 42 per cent last year. The second highest segment is in the age group of 25-34 years, which constitutes of the 28 per cent on the pie.
The survey indicates that the percentage of people using the Net only for work-related purposes has gone down from 36 per cent last year to just 10 per cent this year. And personal use of the Net has increased from 27 per cent to 49 per cent.
The percentage of people buying on the Net has actually gone down from 8 per cent last year to 6 per cent this year, even as the number of Internet users has increased.
Meanwhile e-mail and entertainment continue to be the top pullers for the country's Netizens. 89 per cent of the people access the Internet for sending and receiving e-mail, and 74 per cent use it for entertainment. But the fastest growth is in the number of chatters frequenting the Net. People who join online-chats has increased nearly three times, from 24 per cent last year to 62 per cent this year.
Job hunting has increased slightly from 21 per cent to reach 28 per cent in 2000, the number of people browsing the Internet for current events has remained static at 38 per cent. Use of Internet to download software has gone down from 26 per cent last year to 23 per cent this year.
Even the number of people accessing the Internet from office has gone down drastically from 54 per cent to 29 per cent, the home usage has increased from 21 per cent to 26 per cent. The percentage of people accessing the Internet from a commercial Internet centre has gone up from 8 per cent in 1999 to 31 per cent in 2000. Much of this can be attributed to the increase in number of cyber cafe's, reduced access charges, and easy accessibility.