As of the end of 2014, eMarketer estimates, India is the world’s third-largest internet market. Nearly 216 million people in India have gone online at least monthly this year, up 28.9% over 2013 usage levels. Still, less than one-fifth of the country’s overall population is digitally connected this year.
eMarketer expects usage growth in India to continue in the double digits—but just barely. Growth rates like 2013’s 36.1% increase are in the past; by the end of our forecast period the internet population in the country will go up by barely 10% per year. That will still leave only around a quarter of residents with regular internet access by 2018. Still, even with such a low penetration rate, India’s sheer size means its online population will exceed that of the US by 2016, at 283.8 million vs. 264.9 million. In Indonesia, eMarketer already estimates penetration is higher than it will be in India by the end of our forecast period. But that also means slower growth in the country, which has the fourth-largest overall population and the sixth-largest internet population this year.
Destined to outpace Japan, but not Brazil, in internet market size by 2017, Indonesia will continue to grow its internet penetration until reaching nearly 47% in 2018. Double-digit growth will be over, however, by 2016, when about two in five residents is online. While substantial compared to most other countries in the world, the Indian and Indonesian internet markets will continue to be dwarfed by China’s for the foreseeable future.