TechManch 2019: Are you prepared for what’s next, asks Vikas Agnihotri, Google
Millennials, growing consumption & rising internet penetration are driving India’s changing ecosystem, says Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director, India Sales, Google and Keynote Speaker at TechManch 2019
Addressing the gathering at exchange4media group’s TechManch 2019 conference, keynote speaker Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director, India Sales, Google focused on the urgent need for marketers to be one step ahead of the rapidly evolving technological ecosystem, even anticipating advancements and evolution before they occur.
“Today, what used to be science fiction has become reality,” Agnihotri pointed out, illustrating with the example of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk’s flip phone in 1966 which went on to become real as seen in the Motorola flip phone model of 2004. He also relived scenes from the popular show ‘The Jetsons’, alluding to the technology showcased in the series back in the early 1960s, well before its time.
The question Agnihotri asked marketers at the conference was – Are you prepared for what is next? What must marketers do to stay well ahead of the technology curve? “Consumers are adopting to technology faster than marketers,” he noted. “Think about what is happening in India at the moment. This is probably one of the finest moments for professionals to be working in this country.” He also noted that the dramatic fall in data prices post the Jio effect was unparalleled anywhere else in the world. “We saw data prices falling by 90 per cent overnight, causing data consumption to increase 18x.” He added that it took 18 years to get the first 100 million people on the internet.
The future looks great with a very young population, which is eager to adopt to the latest technology trends. “There are three important factors that will dominate the way things will move ahead in this country, something that marketers will find exciting,” he explained. “There is a millennial dominance that will only keep growing where by 2025, almost 45 per cent of this country’s workforce will be millennial. A significant percentage of these will be well connected on the internet, which means we will see a rising internet penetration in the years ahead. Thirdly, if you are in the FMCG world, in the next 5 to 7 years, you will be excited to know that the FMCG per capita consumption will increase 4x. The increasing trend in consumption is something every marketer should pay attention to.”
Agnihotri went on to add that Digital is no longer ‘becoming mainstream’. It already is mainstream, a reality marketers must be aware of. What is enabling its rapid growth is the simplification of its use, he added. Until a few years ago, the internet was viewed in terms of the 3 ‘M’ phenomena – Male, Metro and Millennial. Today, that phenomena has been turned on its head as simplified technology and the rise of vernacular online allows anyone to use the internet with ease. Anyone from a grandmother to a farmer in rural India can today access the internet at the click of a button.
He went on to talk about certain trends that will rule the way ‘Bharat’ or rural India exists online – regional languages, video, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). “Technology and digital are adding to people’s lives beyond just entertainment. They are looking for knowledge and information as well. Today, there are more search queries on Google coming in from outside of the eight metros than within the metros themselves. That shift has already happened – from 2012 to now the number of queries and searches on Google from rural areas have multiplied by four times.” Agnihotri also threw light on the way Google’s internet Saathi initiative is driving the adoption and use of the internet in rural areas through a variety of case studies, thereby impacting the quality of life in these markets.
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