The consequence of India overtaking America's Internet user count

At Recode's Code Conference 2016, Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2016 statistics laid insights on India's meteoric growth, and there are deeper consequences behind it.

Published Date
03 - Jun - 2016
| Last Updated
03 - Jun - 2016
The consequence of India overtaking America's Internet user count

India has been a ground for massive growth in terms of smartphone statistics and Internet growth. While the developed nations have been on a gradual slowdown in terms of growth rate and presents flat growth figures in terms of Internet users and global connectivity penetration, India continues to defy the figures. The number of global Internet users stand at 3 billion with a rise of 9 percent (excluding India), and the number of users accessing Internet from India stand at 277 million, up by 40 percent to be second only behind China.

In comparison, the universal growth rate is only at 7 percent. The rise in India’s Internet user base has contributed by 2 percentage points by itself, in the total growth of Internet users in the world. While all of this may sound to be a fascinating statistic, there are deeper consequences behind it. The advent of 4G LTE connectivity led to easier availability and affordability of basic EDGE networks, even across niche areas. This was preceded by connectivity boom, which led to the steady rise of budget mobile phones in the market. An influx of foreign equipment makers followed, steadily bringing down the amount of money required to own a device capable of connecting to the Internet. Simultaneously, a rise in awareness coupled with the present Government’s efforts have been massively pushing the smartphone market, which buoyed the rise of Internet connectivity in India.

The world, it seems, has stood up and taken notice. Nokia, while still being in business, introduced its Asha series to present affordable devices with Internet connectivity that had the power to connect users to the Internet. Google has since taken up the onus to bring wider internet availability by introducing public WiFi with Indian Railways and its extensive network. Microsoft has been setting up data centres in the country, Google’s Project Loon is almost upon us, Facebook’s saga will forever be remembered in a peg for net neutrality in the country, and the steady influx of foreign services and equipment makers has seen Apple CEO Tim Cook proclaiming his seriousness behind India, and the advent of services like Netflix have been further pushing internet consumption on the other end of the end-user income spectrum.

Indian consumers are now being sought actively, as they are the major contributors to the growth of Internet across the world. While Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends have only reflected the growth above the number of users in USA, the consequence and potential lies in further growth and the boom of services along with increasing connectivity across the nation, which would continue to defy worldwide trends in Internet growth, at least in the foreseeable future. America, in comparison, is more affluent, and has reached a point of saturation.

Maybe in direct comparison, the consequence of the statistic would not be titanic. The effects would only be visible in future, when the establishment of India’s massive Internet user count would switch to higher speeds. This, to sum up, is the base being laid for India’s digital future.

Souvik DasSouvik Das

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