Monday, June 25, 2018

Why India having only 25% of it's population on the Internet is not such a bad thing

There was a well-written article recently about how only 25% of India's adult population use the Internet, and how it is among the lowest in the world. The article, quoting Pew Research, was not only critical about Digital India, but also had a little negative tone in reporting.

Well, let's look at it from a different angle. When 25% of India's population uses the Internet:

  • The numbers are more than the entire population of US of A 
  • It is almost 3 times that of South Korea! (The article compares our Internet usage with that of Korea)
  • Even with 25% of India's population on the Internet, we have the largest number of Facebook users in the world.
  • From 13% in 2013 to 25% in 2017, the number of Internet users in India has almost doubled

So is the 'only' 25% a limitation? Let's look at it from a perspective of opportunity. Think of the numbers that are not yet on the Internet. India's population is getting younger. The census figures show that 45% of India's population is between 18 and 35 years. It is also true that most if this population has made mobile phones their medium of choice. We are already looking at a trend of the younger generation using the Internet and the mobile phones for - well, almost everything they do. So many of my students have said that they hardly ever watch the television, and prefer watching even the TV shows on their mobile phones. With increasing reach of mobile phones and content being increasingly available in regional languages, it is probable that this 25% will change dramatically over the next few years.

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We need to think of the opportunities that organisations will have. Why else are the Amazons and Walmarts so keen to invest their millions here, calling India the next investment destination? Digital Marketing organisations are having a field day, with most businesses jumping the bandwagon to promote their goods online. The digital medium has also created opportunities for small investors, women and home makers to become entrepreneurs, and they have been quite successful.

In conclusion, if ONLY 25% could open up so many opportunities, what would 100%, or even an increase of 10% be like? Remember, we are talking of 10% of INDIA's population!

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