India will see its number of internet users triple to 237 million from the current 81 million by 2015, according to a report.
In a study titled 'Internet's New Billion', the Boston Consulting Group said Brazil, Russia, India, China and Indonesia (BRICI) will have more than 1.2 billion internet users by 2015 - well over three times the number of internet users in Japan and the US combined.
In 2009, the BRICI countries had some 610 million Internet users.
"Internet penetration rates in the BRICI countries will experience compound annual growth of nine to 20 per cent from 2009-2015, driven predominantly by young users who will form the digital-market eco-systems that will be in place for generations to come," the management consulting firm said.
With BRICI countries constituting many of the world's most populous nations, "it may come as little surprise that their digital-consumer ranks will swell so quickly," the report added.
Describing India as a "low-maturity and high growth market", BCG said Internet penetration rate in India is expected to reach 19 per cent by 2015, up from the current seven per cent.
"There are currently about 81 million Internet users in India'a number that will nearly triple by around 2015 to 237 million," the report said.
India's Internet use is concentrated mainly in the larger cities, where many users are migrants from smaller towns. This group tends to have had limited exposure to the internet and therefore typically has a narrower range of online needs than more experienced users.
"Offsetting this situation is the prevalence of younger Indian users," the report said. Indian Internet users spend only half an hour online each day, on average, the lowest rate among all the BRICI countries.
This average will increase to only 0.7 hour per day by 2015, leaving India still bringing up the rear among BRICI users in terms of daily time spent online.
"However, this is a conservative projection and that there could be some major surprises depending on how quickly pricing comes down and availability increases," it added.
Among the most prominent trends is that BRICI digital consumers are far more likely to be meeting their digital needs through mobile phones than through personal computers.
With PC penetration still quite low, mobile phones are cheaper and more convenient tools for both communicating and seeking out entertainment. .