India: Digital Market Overview

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A snapshot of digital India- 121m online users and growing fast

India is the third biggest country in terms of internet users in the world, with a highly social and mobile audience. This snapshot takes a closer look at India’s digital consumer, and the key trends driving the country towards a digital future. It's estimated as many as 121 million Indians are logged onto the internet. It is a sizeable number, but still a relatively small proportion of the country's 1.2 billion population.


India's internet

• 2% - Number of rural Indians using the internet
• 25% - Growth in Indian internet users in India over the past 12 months.
• 59% - Number of Indians who only access the internet via mobile devices.

What Indians do online

• 3 hours - Average time an Indian net user spends on social media.
• 13m - Number of Indians registered on matrimonial or dating sites.
• 70% of Indian internet users who watch online videos.

Source: wearesocial

Poor Internet connectivity, but phenomenal mobile growth

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India estimates that there will be an additional 200 million new mobile subscribers in the coming year. According to research aggregated by, there are more than 898 million mobile subscribers in India, 292 million of these living in rural areas.

The same data showed that 346 million Indian mobile users had subscribed to data packages, with more than half of all internet users in the country accessing the web via their mobile phone.
The increase in uptake of 3G and 2G services in India will also help get more people online. However, there are still issues getting this kind of connectivity into remote areas.

Other portable devices could also make an impact when it comes to Indians accessing the internet.

The government plans to roll out its low-cost tablet device, known as Aakash, into schools nationwide in 2012. Costing around $50, it has been hailed as a huge innovation for India and the way the web can be accessed in schools.

The devices are still very basic, compared with other tablets on the market, and rely on good wi-fi connections and electricity supply, prerequisites which are not always available in more remote parts of India.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges in the year ahead is increasing internet penetration in these areas.

Only 2% of rural India has access to the web, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). That's a small percentage when there is more than 70% of the population lives outside an urban conurbation.

Social media on the rise

Aside from access and reach, the other big change when it comes to India and the internet is how people are using the web. With better connections, mobile phones and computers, Indians are increasingly using the internet for more than just checking their email.

In both rural and urban areas, social networking is a key driver of use. The most popular site in India is now Facebook, which in the past six months saw its user base grow by more than a third.

Facebook has seen its market share grow by almost 50% from 2010 and 2011, while YouTube has shown a increasing growth rates in the first 4 months of 2012 and has been growing at over 400%. Twitter has yet to see a reasonable growth in India, despite having a fairly good adoption rates.

The professional networking site Linkedin is also seeing greater uptake in India. The country has the second largest number of users for the site, according to figures from
This net-savvy generation is also helping to build e-commerce in India. The number of transactions made online has been growing: in the past year, the value of online business in India was estimated to be worth about $10bn.

Some 13 billion adverts are already sent to mobile devices in India every month, and two thirds of all Indian e-commerce comes from mobile devices.

The biggest change, when it comes to content, will be the provision of more non-English websites in a country where hundreds of languages are spoken. Websites such as Wikipedia are already trying to push regional language content.

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