How much time do Indians spend online?

Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters
India is quickly outgrowing China as one of the leading markets in the world for Internet consumption. Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Glenn Carstens-Peters

Indians spend a lot of time online browsing the web, playing video games, posting on social media and so on. Despite this, digital and traditional channels seem to increase in tandem, meaning mediums like print (books and magazines) are still healthy contenders in entertainment. Let's look at how much time Indians spend online and why.

Traditional media vs Digital

According to various surveys, the average Indian adult spends approximately three-and-a-half hours per day perusing traditional media like books, magazines, and television. Most of these numbers are from rural sections of India where the internet is a new phenomenon, but the results show that even residents of large cities like Mumbai (18 million), Delhi (16 million) and Kolkata (14 million) still prefer traditional media. In fact, 70.1% of their consumption is still of traditional media.

Digital platforms like computers and smartphones make up the other 29.9%, or approximately one-and-a-half hours of free time. Despite the current popularity of traditional media among Indians, experts expect the digital sector to grow at a faster rate and to overtake traditional media as early as 2021. 

Key drivers

A large percentage of the growth of the online media sector can be attributed to content consumption through mobile Internet. Nowadays, Internet data is affordable, smartphones are cheaper and mobile phone usage is becoming a mainstay in daily life. Studies showed that Indian adults spent 1 hour, 12 minutes a day online on average and the majority of that time (76.5%) was on mobile devices.

Indians prefer social media and casino games

India is quickly outgrowing China as one of the leading markets in the world for Internet consumption. At around 17 hours per week, they spend more of their time on social media than any other nation's residents in the world. With more than half the country online (560 million) already, it's expected that more Indians will consume more online content in the future.

The rise of online gambling in India is another example of the Internet's popularity. About 80% of Indians are gambling online at least once a year on websites like Casumo Casino. Indians tend to gravitate towards gambling websites that specifically target the country's culture by offering campaigns around holidays like Eid or Diwali. 

Time and dollars spent on traditional TV vs Digital

Television is still more popular than any other form of entertainment in the country. 58.7% or three hours are spent each day consuming content on television. However, adults still spent almost two hours a day on average consuming content online. 

Marketing agencies mostly spend money on traditional advertisements like billboards and commercials, which implies there is still more customer conversion from conventional spaces. This mirrors US advertisement spending 10 years into the adoption of the world wide web, but the shift to mostly digital advertising is already in effect. India will likely switch to advertising primarily on the web in the next few years.

Smartphones and their impact on our time

Since 2020, Indians have started to spend approximately one-third of their waking hours on their phones, which roughly translates to 1,800 hours per year. Based on a survey, 75 per cent of the 2,000 participants stated that they wanted to own a smartphone in their teens, with 41 per cent of those people admitting their addiction to the device. 

30 per cent of the 2,000 participants spend less time with their family than they did 10 years ago, but the report was unclear if this was due to smartphone usage. 

In the same study, 73 per cent agreed that continuous usage might affect their physical or mental health. Three out of five people said that they recognize the importance of having a life separate from their online friends. 

Explosive surge of smartphones

Exciting new technology sometimes monopolises our free time. Now, Indians can communicate with loved ones daily, consume entertainment easier, and express themselves on social media all on one device. Multiple experts have stated that it is crucial to unplug from the digital sector to benefit personal health and interpersonal relationships.

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