New Delhi: The number of social media users are expected to grow 17 per cent to reach 91 million in urban India by December 2013, on the back of rising Internet penetration due to increasing affordability of smartphones and availability of cost effective data plans.
The number of social media users in urban India reached 78 million by June 2013, a report by IAMAI and IMRB International said.
"The report estimates that the number of social media users by October 2013 will be 86 million and by December 2013, will be 91 million, showing an overall growth of 17 per cent since June 2013," it said.
It said facebook is the leading website accessed by 96 per cent of all social media users and it is most used to connect with friends, publishing content and searching contacts.
The survey was conducted across 35 cities of the country.
The report said social networking through mobile phones is widely observed with 19.8 million users accessing the websites on mobiles.
"With mobile penetrations reaching very high levels and an increasing number of individuals owning smartphones that allow Internet access, social networking is rapidly penetrating the Internet user base across length and breadth of India," the report said.
Afforadable mobile Internet plans additionally serve to increase usage levels, it added.
The report said "non-working women" are tipped to be the next emerging demographic segment with nearly 10 per cent of them accessing social media.
It also highlighted that the medium is increasingly used by political institutions and 2-5 per cent of election budgets are estimated to be spent on social media initiatives.
"Small-scale campaign responsibilities are usually outsourced by the political parties whereas critical election campaigns are managed in-house by the party experts," it said.
The report estimates that investing in various social media initiatives could lead to a vote swing of around 3-4 per cent among the users in the country.