India’s internet market is no longer male, metro, millennial: Rajan Anandan

By 2020, 45 per cent of all internet users are expected to be female

Rajan Anandan

MUMBAI: Lightning speed - that's how India's internet adoption can be described. With an abundance of growth opportunities, India’s rural areas are leading the way for every company wanting to make a mark in the digital space.

When the online space is turning into more class agnostic nature, the gender divide is also abolishing. Google (http://www.indiantelevision.com/mam/marketing/brands/how-google-views-in...) vice president India and South Asia Rajan Anandan was speaking about new age internet users, notable trends and changes at the Subhash Ghosal Memorial Lecture recently. The veteran said that Indian internet users are no longer restricted to the metro, male, millennial phenomenon.

Rajan highlights a gender disparity in internet usage that was prevalent in India three years ago, which wasn’t the case even in places like Africa or the Middle East. Just one in ten internet users was female. Several factors like lack of awareness and access worked in favour of the divide. Today, 37 per cent of India’s internet users are women which is expected to rise to 45 per cent by 2020.

“If you go back even 8-10 months, you characterise India’s internet as male, metro and millennial. So millennial males in metro India was really what the internet was about. That has changed pretty dramatically. We see more women coming online. In fact, in terms of new internet users, there are many women than men actually and a lot of them are from rural India, small towns,” he commented.

Speaking about megatrends in the Indian internet market, he said that voice, video, vernacular are grabbing high attention. Over the last 12-18 months, voice has shown the most surprising growth. There has been a 270 per cent growth in voice searches. “So, they (new users) are more comfortable speaking to internet than typing, tapping. India is going to be the world’s first voice driven internet market,” he said.

Commenting on the vernacular(http://www.indiantelevision.com/iworld/social-media/google-assistant-bec...)growth, he said that almost 100 per cent of new Indian internet users access internet in local languages, not in English. The man with the statistics said over 200 million users access internet in regional languages. Moreover, there has been a 400 per cent growth in Hindi voice searches.

Indian market went from a messaging first internet market to video first internet market over the time thanks to affordable data prices. “The journey of new age internet users has been pretty straightforward. They started with messaging, generally WhatsApp, then started using social networks, watched a little bit of video because data was expensive. That has actually changed. Almost every new internet user today actually starts his internet journey with video because they all understand video,” Anandan said. He also said 75 per cent of all traffic in mobile data in Indian internet actually comes from video, among which 95 per cent of total video consumption is happening in local languages.

Indians are consuming higher amount of data, 8 GB per month, compared to developed markets like South Korea, the US and the UK. India is consuming more mobile data than the US and China combined. Even the smartphone quality has improved in India as 70 per cent of phones used here have a 2 GB RAM or more.

The Google head said that the company is concerned with solving the problems of the common man. He said that the internet can even solve problems related to agriculture, financial institutions and health and education systems.

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