Smartphone use in India has soared, with more than half of all web traffic coming from users with a mobile as their sole source of internet access, according to new research.
According to the report, from Mumbai-based financial advisory firm Avendus Capital, smartphone users in India are expected to grow to 67 million this year and 382 million by 2016.
More than 50 per cent of mobile Internet traffic and paid content revenues come from smartphones, dominated by Google and Apple app stores.
Google Play and Apple App store revenues are expected to cross Rs 800 crore by 2016, the report said.
Similarly, 3G subscriptions are also expected to rise from 11 million in 2011 to 56 million this year and touch 266 million by 2016, it added.
"Until recently, the only revenues generated through mobile in the digital space came from 'on-deck' services offered by telcos through their portals, popularly known as mobile value added services (MVAS). Globally, the trend has shifted towards growth of 'offdeck' services that are offered by content developers directly to consumers without going through telecom operators.
This has been largely driven by the advent of smartphones and third party app stores like iOS and Google Play," says Aashish Bhinde, executive director at Avendus Capital.
Mobile games and applications in India are expected to be a Rs 2,700-crore market by 2016, driven by strong smartphone growth and expanding 3G user-base.
"The digital content market (other than caller ringback tones) in India has been sub-scale due to large-scale piracy. Mobile Internet is opening the doors for large-scale monetisation of digital content through paid apps which is expected to grow to become a Rs 2,000-crore market in the next 3-4 years," Avendus Capital Executive Director and Head (Digital Media and Technology) Ashish Bhinde told PTI.
Five categories that dominate Indian content landscape on mobile phones include cricket, music, news, video and games. Facebook, Google and Whatsapp lead in terms of time share, the report said.
Feature phones with Internet capabilities will too help the apps and games ecosystem to grow.
"Feature phones will continue to play a key role as they continue to maintain a substantial market share. Indian players have a stronghold in this segment and the opportunities for them are in the area of (developing) hyper-local models like browser content, entertainment and m-commerce," the report said.
Read more here (PDF report)