In the year when internet in India is growing at a rate of 42 per cent and the number of mobile phone users has touched a staggering number of 850 million, digital and mobile media have yet to find a comfortable space in the regular media mix of advertisers.
However, global internet giant, Google is highly optimistic about the adoption of mobile advertisement by marketers. Here are the ten reasons why Rajan Anandan, Managing Director of Google India believes that the number of mobile internet users has reached a tipping point and the Indian digital industry will be led by mobile devices.
1. Growth of smartphones: Global shipment of smartphones exceeded the number of PCs last year. Industry had projected that this growth will take place in 2015, but surprisingly, it happened in 2011. Twenty one million smartphones were shipped in India last year. In India, the primary access point of internet has slowly moved to mobile phones. Internet will see a mobile-led growth in India for the next four years.
2. Device and data pricing: Reduction in mobile device and data prices will accelerate the growth of mobile internet. There will be close to 100 million smartphone users in India by 2015. In next four years, there will be 100 million more consumers who will connect to internet through their mobile devices.
3. Search and data consumption to multiply: By the end of 2011, there were 200 million Android OS users globally. In India, amount of data consumption on smartphones as against feature phones, has increased by 18 times. Search will be the starting point of mobile internet usage on smartphones.
4. High data consumption: As more and more users adopt smartphones, how they use internet will change dramatically. Unlike consumption of internet on PCs and notebooks, internet usage on mobile phones starts post 4 PM in India. Smartphone internet users will stick longer to internet than PC users.
5. Mobile video consumption on growth curve: Regardless of the fact that India is a bandwidth constrained market, mobile video consumption is all set to explode. Of 50 million views of the famous song, Kolaveri Di, 30 per cent views were through mobile phones. YouTube demonstrates that there is an increase in video consumption through mobile phones.
6. App economy: Till date there have been 11 billion app downloads globally. Indians have downloaded 160 million apps. On iTunes alone, there have been five billion app downloads. We are clearly seeing the app economy grow. In-app advertising will become an inevitable platform for advertisers in India. Consumers will use apps for entertainment content or utilitarian purposes.
7. Small towns to fuel growth: Most of internet users in smaller towns access internet for the first time through mobile phones. Internet access through mobile phones in such towns is close to 50-60 per cent of total usage. Of the total 120 million internet users in India today, 35 per cent are from towns of less than a million people.
8. Vernacular Tsunami: Over the last 12 months, we have seen a vernacular content Tsunami in India. There has been a significant increase in non-English news websites. Consumption of vernacular content is growing at a rapid rate and its access is more through mobile phones. Therefore, mobile optimised sites and vernacular mobile content users will become important for marketers.
9. Mobile commerce: In the last one year, consumers have been using mobile internet for products and services. For instance, there is industry data to support that 71 per cent of all flower searches in India is through mobile phones. What is interesting is that mobile internet users are looking for almost everything on the internet.
10. Social networking sites through mobile phones: India is the second largest market for Facebook. Increasingly, social networking websites are being accessed more and more through mobile devices. The number of hours a user spends on social sites through mobile phones is also increasing.