New Delhi: The number of internet users worldwide is expected to touch 2.2 billion by 2013 and India is projected to have the third largest online population during the same time, says a report.
"The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45 per cent to 2.2 billion users by 2013 and Asia will continue to be the biggest Internet growth engine.
"... India will be the third largest internet user base by 2013 – with China and the US taking the first two spots, respectively," technology and market research firm Forrester Research said in a report.
Globally, there were about 1.5 billion Internet users in the year 2008.
Titled `Global Online Population Forecast, 2008 to 2013`, the report noted that emerging markets like India would see a growth of 10 to 20 per cent by 2013.
"In some of the emerging markets in Asia such as China, India and Indonesia, the average annual growth rates will be 10 to 20 percent over the next five years (2008-13)," the report said. India`s number of Internet users was estimated to be 52 million in 2008.
In the next four years, about 43 percent of the Internet users globally are anticipated to reside in Asia and neighbouring China would account for about half of that population.
"... the shifting online population and growing spending power among Asian consumers means that Asian markets will represent a far greater percentage of the total in 2013 than they do today," Forrester Research Senior Analyst Zia Daniell Wigder said.
According to the report, the percentage of internet users in Asia would increase to 43 percent in 2013 from 38 percent in 2008.
"The percentage of the global online population located in North America will drop from 17 percent to 13 percent between 2008 and 2013, while Europe`s share will shrink from 26 percent to 22 percent.
"The percentage of those in Asia will increase from 38 percent to 43 percent and Latin America will remain steady at about 11 percent of the global total," Forrester noted.
The report said apart from China, other Asian countries with substantial online growth rates include India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
"By contrast, growth rates in some of the more mature markets such as Japan and South Korea will rise by less than two percent each year," it added.