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Internet usage in India continues to grow at a slow but steady pace, both in breadth and depth, with the overall internet-using population in urban India reaching 30.32 million – a growth of 28% from April 2006 to April 2007 – according to the “India Online 2007” study from JuxtConsult.

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Of the 30.32 million urban internet users, 25.17 million (83%) log on at least once a month; the balance of 5.15 million (17%) are occasional users, according to the study.

The penetration of the internet among urban Indians stands at 9% now, assuming the total urban population at 336 million, JuxtConsult said.

Key findings from the “India Online 2007” study:

  • India’s internet growth was fueled by home-based usage:
    • The usage of internet from homes is at 59% (the proportion of users who access the internet from a given place).
    • Place of work (office, school, colleges, etc.) remains the single-largest place for accessing internet at 78%.
    • Internet usage from cyber cafes has remained flat, reaching 47%.
    • Only 1.4% of the regular internet-using population accesses the net “exclusively” from a cyber cafe.
  • Broadband is reaching more online urban Indians:
    • At least 3 of 4 regular internet users (77%) who access the net from home now do so using some form of a broadband or superior connection.
    • At least 74% of office-based usage is also on broadband or superior connections.
    • Nevertheless, the biggest problem faced on the net (by at least 2 of 3 net users) is the “slowness in opening of websites.”
    • And almost 1 in 3 net users (35%) also complain about the “difficulty in connecting to the net” in the first place.
  • Net users are ‘heavier’ users of internet from home than other media (TV, newspaper and radio).

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  • Networking and Entertainment activities are the biggest gainers in popularity:
    • Among the 10 most popular online activities of regular internet users, five are communication and networking activities: emailing, instant messaging, chatting, e-greetings and dating/friendship.
    • Four of the remaining five are entertainment activities: news, sports, music and games.

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  • The rise of social networking and the blogging hype:
    • 56% of internet users undertake social or professional networking.
    • Social networking forms the larger part of the pie with 29% of net users.
    • Blogging remains a tertiary phenomenon, with only about 31% of all internet users somehow involved in blogs.
    • Though 27% of all online Indians read or check blogs, 15% of them comment on blogs and only 7% of them have a blog of their own; that is, in effect, 89% of all net users who are involved with blogs merely read them.
  • Yahoo is the most recalled online brand, but Google is the most used:
    • 30% of all online Indians recalling Yahoo as the first online brand coming to their minds.
    • In actual usage, Google is the frontrunner with 29% of all internet users preferring to use Google the most among all the websites.

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    • However, at the overall level, Google’s Orkut has the best recall-to-usage ratio of 1.76.
    • Both Yahoo and Google are the most used websites for 14 of the 23 popular online activities surveyed (7 each).

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About the “India Online 2007” study: A land survey was undertaken in April 2007, sampling 10,000 households in 31 cities (population 20,000+) across all the four regions to estimate internet usership and derive appropriate weights to make online survey data representative of the entire online urban population. A large-scale online survey was conducted in May 2006, sampling over 14,200 complete responses capturing net usage behavior and website preferences.

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