There is a very good chance that you are reading this article not on a laptop or a tablet, but on your mobile phone. Not just media, over the last five years mobile usage has seen explosive growth across sectors.
And we at YourStory have stayed in sync with this growth through MobileSparks, India’s premier conference for all things mobile. In the last five years, MobileSparks has brought together leading innovators, the best, most-promising startups, investors, telcos, policymakers and others who are a part of the mobile ecosystem under one roof to celebrate their successes, explore new frontiers and find solutions for how we can take things to the next level.
This year, for the sixth edition, we turn the spotlight on The New Billion. These are the people who represent the next wave of mobile adoption. Their needs, expectations, and behaviour will be completely different from previous generations, and MobileSparks 2017 will focus on innovating for this generation of users.
It’s not just us, even the world is excited about the possibilities for India’s rapidly growing mobile economy. Here are just 10 of the many reasons why all eyes are on India’s mobile segment:
- Second-largest smartphone market in the world: India accounts for 10 percent of global smartphone sales. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), 39 million smartphones were sold in the country between July and September 2017, 21 percent more than in the same period last year. In fact, Gartner says that in 2016, when global demand for smartphones was falling, India bucked the trend by clocking a 29 percent increase.
- Home to one-fifth of the world’s mobile subscribers: Currently, India accounts for about 20 percent of mobile phone subscribers worldwide with 500 million new smartphone users predicted to join the ranks in the next few years. India’s mobile market is now bigger than the US, and second only to China. As one of the fastest-growing mobile markets for the next three years, according to GSMA, infrastructure improvements for better mobile and internet connectivity can allow India to become a top player in the global market.
- More availability of content in regional languages: The availability of content in regional Indian languages is driving consumption of the mobile Internet in India. A study by KPMG and Google discovered that more than one-third of Indians tend to trust content in Indian languages compared to English. In June 2015, the number of consumers of online content in regional languages was 127 million, up 47 percent over the previous year. The study estimates that by 2021, an expected 201 million Hindi users—38 percent of the Indian internet user base—will be online.
- Dawn of the digital payment era: Post-demonetisation in November 2016, the usage of digital payment solutions such as e-wallets and biometric-based payments systems shot up. In fact, in six months, total digital transactions in India rose 23 percent, from 22.4 million to 27.5 million. According to a Google-BCG study, the Indian digital payments industry is poised to grow to $500 billion by 2020, accounting for 15 percent of the GDP. And it goes without saying that smartphones have played a vital role in enabling this growth.
- Expansion of 4G and high-speed broadband: With telecom operators such as Reliance, Vodafone and Airtel launching their 4G networks across the country and working to improve existing network coverage, the next few years could see an upsurge in the usage of mobile broadband by a larger number of people, given the infrastructure and complementary factors are also in sync. In fact, the Ministry of Telecommunications recently set up a panel to create a roadmap to roll out 5G in India by 2020.
- Purchasing power of middle-class India: According to a McKinsey report, in 20 years India will become the world’s fifth-largest consumer market, with mobile phones and the Internet connecting more people than ever before. In fact, India;s mobile subscriber base is expected to reach 211 million by the end of this year.
- Mobile solutions for India’s hinterland: With device manufacturers, app developers, e-commerce and internet giants understanding that the hinterland of India is where the next wave of growth is going to come from, and modifying their solutions accordingly, we now see feature-rich smartphones that don’t break the bank, and search engines and websites optimised to perform at low data speeds and bandwidth. For the people in semi-urban and rural India, mobile phones are an easy and more economical way to stay connected than devices like laptops, tablets or high-end smartphones.
- Expanding the market for mobile commerce: It is estimated that by 2020, India will have an estimated 702 million smartphones in use, and that mobile phones will emerge as the preferred device for online shopping, accounting for 70 percent of the total online shopping.
- Government schemes and policies: Through programmes such as Digital India, which was launched in 2015, the Indian government is seeking to use the mobile technology ecosystem to drive large-scale socio-economic change. The launch of payments solutions such as BHIM and a number of e-governance resources that citizens can access from their phones are a step in this direction.
- Indians love their apps: According to a report by App Annie, Indians are now the top Android users in the world, having clocked a staggering 6.2 billion app downloads in 2016, double the number of downloads the previous year. This, despite the fact that internet connectivity has historically been both expensive and unreliable. Indians also spent the most amount of time spent on Android devices worldwide (145 billion hours) and that’s only going to grow further.
MobileSparks 2017 will explore these and other themes. Don’t miss your chance to buy early-bird tickets and book your spot today. Use the code MS17EB to book your tickets at 1999 INR.
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