In the past 5 years, rural India has seen a 33 %boost in the number of internet users. For urban India, the increase was around 28 %. Also, India’s internet users are likely to reach 627 million in the year 2019, driven by brisk internet growth in rural areas, as evaluated by a market research agency, Kantar IMRB.
Today, internet usage in the country has surpassed half a billion people for the first time, hooked at 566 million, steered by rural internet escalation and use.Most of the reports claim that the boost in internet penetration is because of the rising usage of social media channels.
Social media penetration in rural India
Rural India is increasingly turning as a significant part of social media growth in the country. Social media access in rural India has increased drastically with around 35 % growth rate year on year in comparison with urban areas, says a report published by IMRB International and IMAI.
There was a ballpark 269 million urban online users in the year 2016, whereas in rural India, there were 163 million online users. Further, the study points out that 85 %of Indian users in rural areas use the internet,mainly to the way in social media sites like Facebook. The usage of internet from non-metros and small towns has even increased due to the penetration of social media.
Matched to the long-established media, engagement levels on a mobile device in rural areas have also increased. Today, even an average user from rural India interacts with the mobile device multiple times all through the day. This scenario, together with the rise in social media usage, has bound social media marketers to invest profoundly on the mobile medium targeting rural population for increasing the reach.
Facebook continues to be the highly preferred social media platform in India, with 96 % of the total population using it. YouTube follows this list at 82 %, Twitter at 43 % and LinkedIn at 24 %.
Digital investment in small towns and villages in rural India
Half of India’s internet users would be rural population covering small towns and villages by the year 2020, as per a report presented by the Boston Consulting Group. It even stated that Indian companies are undervaluing, underestimating,and under spending in the country’s digital as well as social media potential.
Further, it is estimated that India would have 850+ million internet users by the year 2025, which would be more than the combined population of the G7 countries,” BCG stated in one of its reports recently. The boost in internet users would lead to an increase in social media usage and even boost online commerce, significantly improving the use of digital channels in small towns and villages in rural India.
How social media sites are assisting rural India
Many Indian social media sites are helping to provide information to the farmers related to cultivation and animal husbandry.
Panchayats are the backbone of politics in India for a long time. Many times mainstream political parties enable the candidates competing for Panchayats elections, and social media is used as a medium to educate the rural public to select the best candidate.
The boost in bandwidth convenience, low-priced data plans, and increased understanding driven by government programs appear to have swiftly bridged the digital gap amid urban and rural India. As a result, the penetration of the internet and use of social media in rural India is expected to increase further with effective outcomes in different business areas.
The companies in the country need to redesign their business plans and investments on the anticipation that the Indian social media and the digital marketplace would advance – as it did in the well-developed markets of India.
Villagers consist of the core of Indian society and also symbolize the real India. So, social media networks must comprehend their power as well as responsibility heading for rural development. History has shown how countries have been built through social media. Now it’s the turn of India to develop with its 637,000 villages! Rural advancement through social media marketing would lay a concrete path to India’s vision by 2025.