India has surpassed the US, the second largest market in the world in terms of Android app downloads, says the latest Mary Meeker report on Internet Trends.
The latest Mary Meeker 2017 Global Internet Trends report highlights this fact that “Smartphone+data costs are still high for the majority of 1.3 Bn citizens.” Overall, India stands second, globally, in terms of Internet penetration with 355 Mn Internet users in 2016, while China takes the top position with 700 Mn users. This is a 28% rise in comparison to the previous 277 Mn users in 2015.
India Ranks 2 In Android App Downloads
Also, India has surpassed the US, the second largest market in the world in terms of Android app downloads which includes total time spent on Android Phones and Total Google Play Downloads.
The report also notes Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Shopclues, and Paytm as top contenders in the Indian ecommerce market. It also gives a bird’s eye view of the Internet, mobile hardware and wireless data consumption trends in the country along with the rising digital landscape and the upcoming challenges.
Key Highlights – Mary Meeker Global Internet Trends
- Standing at rank two in terms of Android app downloads, India is the #1 global market in terms of total time spent on Android phones and total Google Play downloads.
- Indian Internet is emerging as a fierce global battleground with the rise of players in hardware, software, and data carrier space.
- Internet usage in India is rising on account of cheaper/faster access.
- Focussed pro-digital policies are playing a pivotal role in leading India as a digital nation.
Chinese Smartphones And Reliance Jio – Taking The Internet Game Ahead In India
During the time period, Q416 – Q117, India has seen fierce competition between the OEMs – specifically homegrown (Micromax, Karbonn, Lava) and China’s (Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo) – resulting in a reduction in smartphone price, but also the fall of Indian players against the Chinese counterparts.
At the same time, the rise of Reliance Jio left the wireless incumbents (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea) in a state of disarray, forcing the further cuts in data rates. As of March 2017, the average cost for 1 GB data is $2 for the incumbents while it is $0.33 for Jio. After giving free data and communication services for over six months, – 67% turned into paid migration as 72 Mn consumers adopted the paid version from the registered 108 Mn. Also, this has led to 9x Y-o-Y growth in Internet data usage in the country in the period between June 2016 – March 2017.
The report also notes that, with the launch of Reliance Jio, the broadband user base in India increased to 277 Mn in Q117 from earlier 236 Mn in Q416.
Indian software is also getting global attention. While the US-based WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are still the top downloaded apps, Indian entertainment apps – Hotstar and Jio TV- also found a place in the top 10 this year.
The Rising Digital Landscape In India – Mary Meeker Report
With PM Narendra Modi working towards his vision of making India a cashless economy, the report chronicles the focussed pro-digital policies adopted by him, since he took the PMO office in 2014. This included demonetisation, Jan Dhan Yojna, Startup India, GST, rural electrification and more.
At present, India is standing on the cusp of a digital revolution with mobile playing the pivotal role. As stated in slide 257 of the report, over 80% of the web traffic is routed through mobile in India. India currently lies just one space behind Nigeria and has already overtaken giants such as China and the US with a big difference in numbers.
Aadhaar: The New Identity Of The Indian Citizen
Aadhaar+eKYC are the new identity authentication documents – with an increase to 16 Mn authentications per day from 3 Mn in a year in 2012-13. From 0% of the population, today, Aadhaar-enrollments counts among 82% of the 1.3 Bn population.
Not only this, Aadhaar is becoming an essential part of foundation access to many of the broad services such as SIM card activation, bank account, and digital wallet opening, pensions & social services and more. However, it has also gained its share of criticism by being trolled as the world’s biggest surveillance engine.
Mary Meeker Report And India’s Digital Payments Ecosystem
With the demonetisation drive in November 2016, a sudden surge has been seen in the adoption of digital payments across the country. One platform, that has made the most of it is Paytm – taking its registered users to 215 Mn by March 2017 from 50 Mn, just two years back, mentions Mary Meeker report.
Also, there has been a significant rise in the monthly digital payments volume in India after the introduction of Universal Payments Interface (UPI). As earlier reported by Inc42, even global players like WhatsApp have sought its presence into the Indian payments ecosystem via UPI. Amazon too entered the bandwagon and got a wallet license from RBI, after it was announced to roll out UPI services for digital wallets in March 2017.
Other Internet Trends Observed
- The weekly mobile time spent is 7x TV and 45% of this is spent in accessing entertainment channels, says Mary Meeker report.
- TV soaps and reality shows are now getting replaced by on-demand web video shows like AIB Roasts.
- India possesses the largest K-12 school system (250 Mn+ students) in the world, with a high demand for after-school education.
- The trend of offline ‘private tutors’ is getting shifted to mobile self-paced learning with apps like BYJU’s, thereby improving the learning outcomes by 15%.
- Private expenditure on health is second highest in India (89%), just behind Mexico (90%). However, with increased digitisation, offline labs and pharmacies are now being shifting to online health hubs. The report quoted 1Mg and Portea Medical as examples here, thereby leading to 40-50% reduction in lab test costs and 20-30% saving on medicine costs.
- India is now moving towards organised hyperlocal marketplaces, thereby providing 20-25% lower prices for consumers.
India Internet: Opportunities And Challenges
India is considered as a young nation with over 450 Mn people in the age group of 15-34. Also, in terms of working population, India is on rise – if compared with other developed regions.
The later part of the report highlights a tale known to all. While 2015 was the year of soaring valuations and spending in Indian startup ecosystem, 2016 was seen as a funding winter and a fall of investors’ trust resulting in fall of valuations. So, fundraising is one challenge, India is dealing with.
Also, with India being a land of diversity, there are 29 major languages spoken by population and 49% of the Internet users prefer to consume content in their local language only.
This is another major challenge ahead for the Indian Internet ecosystem stakeholders.
The report also identified other challenges such as job creation, gender disparity, logistics, education and inclination of majority population towards basics such as food, shelter and housing. For instance:
- Employment levels currently stand at 55% of the working population (15-64 years old). By 2050, India needs to create jobs for over 280 Mn population.
- Out of 190, the overall rank in ease of doing business, India ranks at 130, which is way behind China (78) and the US (8).
- In Infrastructure Rankings across Asia, India got a World Bank Infrastructure Competitiveness Score of 4.03, citing low infrastructure competitiveness.
- Female labour participation rate in India is 27%, which is quite less than the world average of 50%.
Mary Meeker’s report highlights the potential offered by the Android App downloads market in India. Right now, being the second largest in-app downloads, just behind China, and an open ground for global smartphone companies as well as mobile, the country offers unique opportunities to rank #1 in the coming times.
The complete report can be accessed here.