Yes, India is the third largest internet market in the world (in terms of total number of internet users). There are about 100 million active internet users in India; China has over 450 million internet users and USA around 250 million. But, India’s internet penetration is extremely poor in comparison to the two countries before it. China’s internet penetration rate is over 32% and USA has an internet penetration rate of over 75%.
The number of broadband connections stands at a low 11% of the total internet users. Also, what we deem to be broadband connections in India is as good as a dial-up connection in developed countries and quite a few developing countries as well. Last year the Department of Telecommunication released the draft of the new Telecom Policy, which proposed to increase the broadband download speed from 256 kbps to 512 kbps and up to 2 mbps by 2015. Also, the total number of broadband connections will increase to 175 million by 2017 and 600 million by 2020, at least that is what the policy proposed.
Given this scenario, what are Indians doing online?
A study called India Online Landscape conducted by Juxt Consultants in 2011 revealed that though emailing remains the top online activity, searching or buying non-travel products occupies the 2nd position on the top online activities list. This is a clear indicator that Indian netizens are ready for e-commerce and e-tail. Social networking came in a distant 6th on the list!
Search was the third most popular activity, followed by music downloads and job search to complete the top 5. The fact that the top 10 online activities includes buying non-travel and travel products and paying bills shows that Indians do make electronic payments. Read more about the same here.
A McKinsey and Edelweiss research points out that more than 75% of Indian internet users fall between the 15-34 age group. This presents great long-term opportunity, because these users will be active online for many years to come.
This also affects the internet access mediums. According to a McKinsey study, in 2010 PC’s were responsible for 76% of all internet access. This is expected to go down to a mere 21% by 2015. Mobiles will become the primary internet access medium over the next few years.
Watch out this space for more updates about the top online activities.