Parikshit VivekanandMay 30, 2014 11:01:11 IST
The Mary Meeker Internet report is out and the KPCB analyst had quite a lot to say about India, which is experiencing unprecedented growth in nearly all aspects.
High rate of Internet growth
India, along with Indonesia and Nigeria, is one of the markets where Internet growth has continues unabated. However, Meeker calls the Indian market difficult to monetize. Overall, the number of Internet users grew by less than 10 percent, while in India, the growth was 27 percent, with a total of 154 million users. A large portion of rural India lacks Internet services, which shows in the low penetration numbers. Only 13 percent of India has Internet connectivity, which shows just how much of an untapped market there is.
Hooked to smartphones
When it comes to smartphone subscribers in the world, India has managed to make a strong impact. Indian markets are flooded with numerous smartphones that are priced competitively. Hence Internet usage on smartphones and mobile devices has risen dramatically. On average, Indians spent nearly three hours (162 minutes) on their smartphones, by far the most engaged device, followed by TVs, PCs and tablets. Nigerians spend the most amount of time on smartphones, clocking in 193 minutes on average.
The Indian smartphone market grew by close to 55 percent, but that represents just 10 percent penetration. So once again, a huge opportunity for manufacturers and vendors. This possibly could lead to major launches happening in developing nations first, as manufacturers attempt to gain traction in growth markets.
Meeker categorized India as being one of the developing ‘Big’ smartphone markets with the likes of China, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. According to the report, India recorded 117 million smartphone users in 2013. Meeker estimates that in 2014, the Indian smartphone market's growth rate might decline, but the size would grow by 45 percent.
Tablets not so hot
While smartphones have bloomed, tablets are struggling to make a mark in Indian markets. It was recently reported that the tablet market here recorded a decline of over 32 percent as it still struggles to attract buyers. According to Meeker, tablets had an initial introductory growth of over 52 percent but then as the trend of owning tablets declined, sales dipped in many countries around the world, including in India.
In India, the average tablet owner used their device for just over half an hour every day, whereas the figure was nearly triple for PCs, so India is still very much a PC market, even though tablets have made inroads.
As for data traffic, thanks to the availability of cheap Android powered smartphones, India has become quite a large contributor with regards to 2G and 3G penetration. India expects 811 million 2G subscriptions, which is still widely used and 171 million 3G subscriptions in 2014. The gross total number of people who will be online is expected to cross 982 million. This growing trend does not account for the possible invasion of 4G which a number of network providers are waiting to launch. According to Meeker, mobile data traffic is growing at the rate of 81 percent year-on-year, especially because of video streaming which has become the one of the biggest use cases for mobile data.