Not so long ago, desktops and broadband Internet were sought after by everyone, especially in urban India, but failed to see country-wide adoption. Then came mobile, and it completely changed the way people accessed Internet in the country.
As per an October 2015 Internet in India report by IAMAI, 94% of urban India (197 million users) access Internet via their mobile devices. In rural India, this figure stood at 74% (80 million). It may seem lower in comparison, but interestingly, the growth rate of mobile internet users in rural areas between 2014 and 2015 was higher (99%) as compared to urban India (65%).
This means that more people want to get connected and discover what the world has to offer and mobile internet is fast becoming the perfect medium for it. So much so that a whopping 67% of people who do not access Internet are willing to access Internet via their mobile devices.
The mobile ecosystem has also been quite successful in keeping up with trend and smartphones today have a lot to offer for the discerning mobile internet user, be it mobile games, seeking information, music and video streaming or even booking travel tickets and E-commerce (as M-commerce). It is therefore no wonder that 90% of users in urban India accessing Internet via mobile phones, consider them as their primary device for Internet access. In rural India, this figure stands at about 60%. In fact,as per StatCounter, mobile today accounts for two thirds of the total web traffic in India.
What has brought about this change? On one hand, stiff competition among mobile service providers has led to Internet connectivity on mobile becoming cheaper. On the other, smartphones are becoming more affordable. They are offering a great content experience across price ranges, all packed in a medium that nicely fits in the consumer's pocket. This is something that traditional Internet-enabled media such as desktops could never do and has thus made smartphones the preferred medium of internet access for these users. These devices are also acting as enablers to Internet access. More people may have started accessing Internet in rural areas, but particularly, more women in rural areas are today accessing mobile internet with their numbers growing at 61%.
As more people in the country get connected, the focus for app developers in the country will be to offer localized app experiences so that make it easier for them to adopt mobile internet. For marketers, this is a fresh, new crowd of mobile internet users, eager to discover and experience all that is delivered to them in an attractive and engaging package.