If 2000-10 was the decade of voice, the current decade 2010-20 would be the decade of data. Over the next three years, data could more than double in size to a US$14 billion industry, contributing over half the incremental industry revenue and add 500 bp CAGR to an otherwise slowing voice industry. The economic payoff of a data-connected population would also be significant. A World Bank study shows every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration leads to a 1.38 percentage point increase in per-capita gross domestic product growth in developing economies.
With 121 million Internet connected consumers, India’s tally lags 565 million Chinese Internet users by more than some distance. However a 42% CAGR in Internet subscribers over a 3 year period from 2008-2011 provides ample reason to get excited about the Internet market’s potential for stellar growth in India. An industry study by Assocham and ComScore indicates that the Internet user base in India is approximately 125 million and among the BRIC nations, India has been the fastest growing market adding over 18 million Internet users and growing at an annual rate of 41 per cent.
India is one of the youngest online demographic globally with about 75 per cent of online audience between the age group of 15-34 years. Among the age segments, 15-24 years of age group has been the fastest growing age segment online with user growth being contributed by both male and female segments. The female population accounts for almost 40% of 125 million internet users – indicating that gender equality on the information superhighway is catching up.
The Assocham-ComScore report on Internet usage in India (october 2012) indicates – The top five popular categories accessed online are social networking, portals, search, entertainment and news sites.
Online travel has seen growth across all subcategories including car rentals, online travel agents, airlines as well as hotels and travel information sites.1 out of 5 online users in India visit the Indian Railways site.
Others waiting to benefit include companies offering Indians everything from online travel bookings, recruitment and matrimonial portals. The country’s Internet retailing market will reach $2 billion by 2014, with consumer electronics, toys and games growing the fastest, forecasts by Euromonitor show. Retail category penetration has increased to 60 per cent reach and has grown to 37.5 million unique visitors a month. The travel segment sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 38% in five years from 2009, and total $5.7 billion in 2014, according to Euromonitor. Apparel has been the fastest growing subcategory in retail and reaches 13.4 per cent online users in India.
These are still early days for Data and Internet in India and there are many business empires and business models which would scale up with the rise of the internet and Always on real time data access. The Internet and data industry in india may be 10 years – but the big numbers are starting to build up. Watch this space.