Social, Digital and Mobile in India 2014

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of reports into the Social, Digital and Mobile landscapes of countries around the world, today we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for India.

You may find it useful to put these numbers into context by comparing them to those for other Asian countries in our APAC report, where you’ll also be able to compare today’s stats to India’s January 2014 data.

Executive Overview

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India’s digital landscape is evolving fast, but overall penetration remains low in the world’s second most populous country, with fewer than 1 in 5 Indians using the Internet in July 2014.

Internet use appears to be accelerating though, with the latest figures indicating 30 million new users since January alone – an increase of 14% in just 6 months.

Social media use is also growing, with Facebook alone adding 16 million new users since January – that’s roughly one new user every second.

The picture for mobile is a little more complex though, with the latest data suggesting a drop in the total number of active subscriptions.

However, this is likely due to SIM consolidation; the average Indian mobile user currently manages 2.5 active connections (SIMs), but as people increasingly switch to smartphones with data plans that enable more cost-effective communication between different mobile networks, it’s likely that people will ‘drop’ some of these secondary (and tertiary) subscriptions.

Mobile Internet

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The top story in this report is the dominance of mobile connectivity in India.

70% of internet page views in India originate from mobile devices, while 87% of all Facebook users access the platform through mobile:

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Crucially, it’s this mobile connectivity that’s driving India’s digital growth, and the majority of new internet users access exclusively through mobile.

However, connection speeds remain disappointingly slow in India, with Akamai stating that the country has the slowest internet in Asia. Average connection speeds in India are a paltry 1.7Mbps. Broadband connections (i.e. connections of 4 Mbps or higher) are still relatively scarce, and account for less than 5% of all internet connections. Connections of 10Mbps or more are limited to just 0.7% of all users.

Despite these slow speeds, however, Internet users in India spend almost 5 hours on the net every day, with 40% of that time spent on social media:

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Social Media

Despite being Facebook’s second largest market worldwide, social media penetration in India remains at just 8%.

As with overall internet use, mobile drives social media usage, with almost 9 in 10 Facebook users accessing the platform via mobile:

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It’s worth noting that 30 million people in India access Facebook through a feature phone (i.e. non-’smartphone’ devices).

66 million people access Facebook via smartphones, with 60 million of these – 91% – accessing via Android handsets. 4.6 million access via iOS (i.e. Apple devices), while Windows OS accounts for 3.6 million users:

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These numbers suggest that at least 1.5 million Indian user accounts access Facebook via multiple mobile operating systems, indicating that multiple SIM usage occurs even amongst smartphone owners. Meanwhile, around 4 million users access Facebook across both feature phones and smartphone devices.

Samsung claims the lion’s share of Facebook mobile users, with 32 million users accessing the platform via one of the Korean manufacturer’s devices. Nearly 18 million Indian users access Facebook via Nokia devices.

Critically, our research suggests that much of this mobile social activity takes place in browsers rather than via native apps – an important point to note for marketers when planning their social content strategies.

Google+ appears to be India’s second most popular social platform, with 35% of internet users claiming to have signed in at least once in the past 30 days.

Twitter and LinkedIn follow, while Orkut still appears in India’s top 5 platforms (this will change by September, however, when Google shutters its original social network):

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Mobile

There are just short of 350 million unique mobile users in India, with each user maintaining an average of 2.54 active connections:

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Smartphones are driving the new handset market, although feature phones still dominate everyday usage.

Moreover, almost all mobile contracts in India are ‘pay-as-you-go’ (i.e. pre-paid), and fewer than 10% of users have access to 3G networks:

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Despite this, 95% of smartphone users are searching for local information via their portable devices, and 54% claim to have made a purchase via mobile:

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Entertainment and social media lead activities on smartphones, with video particularly popular. However, it’s worth noting that most video viewing on mobile devices in India is driven by memory card transfer, rather than via internet streaming:

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You can read the full report on SlideShare, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our Social, Digital and Mobile reports.

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