Data collated from multiple primary and secondary sources to analyse the top seven internet platforms shows that six of them have India as their largest user base
In India, where only around 20% of the population speaks English, the consumer internet platforms that have recognised the potential of regional languages have done better
India’s consumer internet opportunity is set to reach a whopping $1.6 Tn by 2025, with the number of internet users expected to touch 900 Mn
India has 759 Mn internet users, a number that is set to rise to 900 Mn by 2025. The large number of Indian internet users, along with some of the cheapest internet rates in the world, has given many consumer internet services companies a massive boost.
As a result, India has become the world’s largest consumer internet market for tech giants like Meta and Google, as per Inc42’s “The State of Indian Startup Ecosystem Report 2023”.
Data collated from multiple primary and secondary sources to analyse the top seven internet platforms shows that six of them — Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Google and YouTube — have India as their largest user base.
However, X (formerly Twitter) stands as the only exception, as the US (95.4 Mn users) and Japan (67.5 Mn users) have more users on the platform than India.
At a time when India is the biggest user base for most of the aforementioned platforms, they have been quick to cater to the needs of Indians and consequently reap rewards.Download The Report
In India, where only around 20% of the population speaks English, the consumer internet platforms that have recognised the potential of regional languages have done better than their peers.
Meta, for instance, was among the first companies to introduce its platforms in many regional languages of the country. Facebook hosts 10 languages on the platform, including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam.
The same is the case with Instagram and WhatsApp, which allow hundreds of millions of users to use these platforms in their respective languages.
Google and YouTube are also available in several regional languages. However, their extensive proliferation in the Indian market comes from the fact that most of India’s smartphone users use Android-powered devices.
According to recent industry statistics, more than 95% of smartphones in India are powered by Android. Since Google and YouTube come baked into these smartphones, the Alphabet-owned platforms potentially have access to 95% of India’s smartphone users.
As for Snapchat and X, most of their user base comes from urban India. As a result, there is a wide gap in absolute numbers compared to other platforms.
While X’s India user base currently stands at 35 Mn, Snapchat has 200 Mn Indian users, which is nearly twice the size of its second-biggest user market, the US (with 108 Mn users).
While these tech giants have been massively successful in India due to their increasing adoption of Indian context, languages and nuances, there is also an element of competition or the lack thereof.
There are currently no Indian counterparts to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or any of the tech giants listed here. Incidentally, while Koo has been positioned as a competitor for X (Twitter), the difference in scale is too vast for the Indian startup to meaningfully challenge the Elon Musk-owned platform at present.
India’s consumer internet opportunity is set to reach a whopping $1.6 Tn by 2025, per Inc42 estimates. Given that a major chunk of this opportunity lies with the non-English-speaking parts of the country, many startups have already started leveraging regional languages to grow deeper into this market.
While startups today face some optimisation and contextual challenges, we must not forget that these solutions will only get better with technologies `like AI and ML, and growing feedback from the country’s internet-guzzling netizens.Download The Report