Report: Internet User Base In India Grew 40% In 2016

On the second day of the fourth annual Code Conference at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) partner, Ms. Mary Meeker, delivered her 'Internet Trends 2017' report that provides some detailed insight into the state of the global internet market. This year’s report focuses largely on emerging markets, with India alone taking up 55 slides out of a total of 355. The report talks about the astronomical growth in the country’s internet user-base over the past few years and claims that the total number of internet users in the country grew 40-percent year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of this year. The report also seeks to identify some of the challenges faced by the internet industry in the country because of aging infrastructure, bureaucratic red tape, and low public investments.

Meeker also reflected on how new technologies like smartphones and tablets are enabling poorer sections of the Indian society bridge the internet literacy gap with their more affluent counterparts. While the reduction in the average selling prices (ASP) of smartphones and tablets has definitely allowed more people to connect to the World Wide Web in recent times, another factor that has helped drive this trend are the falling prices of high-speed internet connections with last year's launch of the country’s latest wireless carrier - Reliance Jio. According to the report, the internet user base in India currently stands at 355 million, making it the second-largest globally after China. About 72 percent of internet users in the country are less than 35 years old, and more than 35 percent of them are in the 15-24 age bracket.

The report also states that despite the recent slowdown in the country’s smartphone market, the industry continues to grow faster than any major market worldwide. India is currently the second-largest smartphone market after China and grew by 15 percent YoY in Q1, 2017. Chinese companies have been some of the main beneficiaries of that growth, going from a mere 15-percent market share in Q4 2014 to more than 50 percent in the last quarter. The ASP of smartphones has declined from over $200 in 2012 to less than $150 in 2016 and is expected to come down further over the course of the next few years. The price of high-speed LTE data has also reduced significantly with the entry of Reliance Jio, allowing people to download more apps, stream more music, and watch more videos on the go. Another notable fact outlined by the report is that the Google Play Store saw more app downloads from India than from the U.S. last year, marking the first time any country other than the U.S. has taken the top spot on that list. WhatsApp remains the most-downloaded app in the country, followed by Facebook messenger, ShareIt, Truecaller, and Facebook.

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Kishalaya Kundu

Senior Staff Writer
I've always been a tech buff and have been building my own PCs since as far back as I can remember. My first computer was a home-built desktop running MS-DOS on which I learnt to program in GW-BASIC and my interests apart from technology include automobiles and sports.
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