Pakistan’s internet penetration stands at 54 per cent in 2021: Study
ISLAMABAD - A new study about the digital population of Pakistan has revealed that the country’s internet penetration stood at 54 per cent during the year 2021, with almost half accessing the facility every day.
“Out of 54 per cent, about 76per cent of Pakistanis are connected to the internet in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad,” according to a first-ever study conducted by the Google and Kantar, a Karachi-based research company.
The “Journey to Digital” research outlines how Pakistanis consume the internet and spend their time on digital, said a news release.
Overall, the study said 66 per cent of internet users were based in urban areas while 47 per cent belonged to rural areas, and 46 per cent of all Pakistanis accessed the internet every day. Males, Generation-Z (people born from 1995 to 2010) and employees are significantly more likely to be connecting to the internet.
Young males were early adopters, accessing the internet more than any other group, it said, adding they were also keener to try new things, and needed the internet for education and work.
“Majority of non-internet users simply don’t have the means to access the internet as they know about the internet but they can’t get onto it because they don’t have an internet enabled device or a reliable internet connection,” the report said.
The internet usage surged due to Covid-19, it said, adding before the lockdown there were around 79 percentage of internet users in urban locations accessing the internet daily, which increased by 10 per cent since lockdowns.
YouTube, used by nearly 90 per cent of all internet users, was the most popular application in Pakistan for streaming music and watching video/TV, and 38 per cent Pakistan internet users went to YouTube in the research phase of their shopping journey.
Google Search is one of top 5 applications/websites used in Pakistan and widely used when researching and purchasing products online as well as travel, for information needs and even entertainment.
The report said one third of all internet users in Pakistan made a purchase online and one fourth of these shoppers increased their spending during Covid-19 lockdowns.
“The reasons for turning to e-commerce are manifold; 71per cent of Pakistani shoppers find purchasing products or services online easy while 66per cent find it convenient. 54per cent agree that online shopping websites or apps give personalized product recommendations, which is a common task from shoppers.”
Currently, penetration is limited, and purchases are mainly driven by food and clothing categories. However, around 66 per cent of consumers believed that online shopping was the way forward, and two thirds of Pakistan online shoppers believed that they would buy products or services online post Covid19.
Industry Head, Performance, South Asia Frontier Markets, Google Faraz Azhar, explained, “With half of its population on the internet - Pakistan is now online! This is the first time Google and Kantar released a study to understand more about Pakistan’s internet population. But it’s not only about people getting online, this research has uncovered new insights and behaviors that show how Covid is impacting online behavior and the digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked.”
“More people are coming online in Pakistan, creating a great opportunity for e-Commerce businesses - if they are ready to seize it. As we see more exploration of the internet beyond social, e-retailers can capture natural cross-category purchasing on its rise, but only if they have first established themselves and their product offering in an online marketplace. Trust is also crucial, so helping customers gain confidence by showing them how easy, convenient and personal the e-shopping experience will be critical to continuing the upward rise of e-Commerce in Pakistan”, Leah Westwood, Client Manager, Kantar added.