With the biggest surge in smartphone adoption happening in India and Vietnam and user base expected to grow by almost 20 per cent in both countries, the year will see 3.47 billion people using the Internet, market research firm eMarketer has said.
Internet users will represent 46.8 per cent of the global population and mobile phones will be the primary device for Internet access, used by 2.73 billion people, the firm added.
The number of Internet users in India is expected to reach 450-465 million, said the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB International. The report said overall Internet penetration in India was currently around 31 per cent.
Developing digital markets in Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa will see the fastest Internet user growth from 2017-21, driven by widening mobile broadband coverage and smartphone adoption.
By 2019, more than half of the world will access the Internet regularly and in 2021 more than four billion people will be online.
However, Internet user growth will fall from 6.1 per cent this year to 3.5 per cent by 2021 as Internet use hits saturation, the report said.
Meanwhile, tablet penetration among Internet users will decline this year.
About 32.9 per cent of Internet users worldwide will access a tablet this year, down from 33.2 per cent in 2016.