Mary Meeker has finally released her annual Internet Trends report for the year 2017. The report by the American venture capitalist and former Wall Street securities analyst has become like a annual ritual for the internet industry. This year, the report had a lot of focus on the Indian subcontinent and its growing internet market.

Growing Internet Market

According to Meeker's report, with 355 million internet users, India's growing internet market is now the second largest in the world, just behind China. Globally, the number of global users on the Internet reached the 3.4 billion mark last year, which equals to 46 per cent of the total world’s population. This figure is more than double the figure seven years ago in 2009. However, Meeker pointed that the growth rate has unfortunately flatlined around 10 per cent a year for the past five years.

Low Internet Penetration

According to the report, even though Indian’s Internet popular grew 28 per cent in mid-June 2016, with 40 per cent year-on-year growth, but India’s internet penetration is still at 27 per cent. This means the second largest population has a long way to go to cross the 50 per cent mark let alone achieve 100 per cent internet penetration.

India Is Number One Global Market for Android

Mary Meeker's annual report highlights that India has now become the number one global market for time spent on Android. According to the report, Google Play downloads in India rushed past the US market's fugue for the year 2016. However, there's one important thing to note here. The data for India on Android phones excludes China from the dataset as the country does have the official Google Play Store.

Growing Smartphone Shipments

The report noted that smartphone shipments in India have managed to maintain their growth trend and are now growing at a decent 15 per cent rate year-on-year.

The report also points towards the growing changes in the Indian smartphone market. It highlights that while Chinese smartphone players like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi are maintaining their growth trajectory by introducing cheaper and better smartphones. On the other hand, homegrown Indian players like Jio, Lava, and Micromax are fighting to get the largest pie for the low-cost 4G feature phone.

According to the report, from 2014 to 2017, while the average selling price (ASP) for feature phones in India has fallen, the ASP of smartphones, on the other hand, has become stable.

Growing Mobile Web Traffic

Mobile web traffic in India comes out to be 80 per cent, which is above the global average of 50 percent. India is only second to Nigeria in Meeker's report for mobile share of web traffic.

It has been known for a long time now that mobiles will have a crucial role to play in India’s internet revolution as most first time Internet users in the country come online via smartphones.

The report also points out that Indians end up spending 45 per cent of their time on mobile phones. This means, the weekly time they spend on a mobile is almost 7 times the time they spend on a television set. During this time spent on mobile phones, Indian end up surfing the net for a lot of activities. The top activities are: Entertainment, which takes up 45 per cent, followed by Search, Social and Messaging at second position with 34 per cent, and new and media at third position with over 2 per cent.

Decreasing Data Rates A Boon For Consumers

The report shows that while Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea collectively continue maintaining over 60 per cent share of broadband subscribers in India, but they also had to cut their data rates thanks to the entry of Reliance Jio in the Indian telecom market.

According to the report, last year, fortunately for the Indian consumers, India saw a 10 per cent decline in data costs per GB decline on quarterly basis, while voice costs declined by 4 per cent quarter on quarter. The rook also highlights that Jio's entery in the market with a free trail promotion lead to incumbent players losing their subscribers and dramatically cutting data prices to maintain their hold.

Preferred Apps And Browsers In India

The report shows that China’s UC Web browser with a 50 per cent share has taken over Google Chrome's 32 per cent market share in India. Coming to India's top downloaded Android app, WhatsApp is number one, followed by Facebook Messenger on the second spot. Only two Indian apps appear on the top 10 downloaded apps list. These are: JioTV and HotStar.

According to Mary Meeker's report, the growth in India's internet usage is courtesy low data costs and government policies. Narendra Modi government's policies such as Digital India, UPI have also found a place in the report. According to the report, the aforementioned government policies have immensely helped in boosting India’s digital revolution. However, the report points out, despite the declining rates, data is still expensive for a majority of the country's population.

The E-commerce Battle

The report also focuses on the intensifying e-commerce battle amongst India's e-commerce players like Flipkart, Amazon India, Snapdeal, Paytm and Shopclues etc. While Flipkart continues to be the king, the US e-commerce giant, Amazon is leaving no stone unturned to become the numero uno player in the Indian market. According to the report, Amazon India has increased its inventory and sellers, and is seeing a 3X year-on-year growth on this front. In addition to this, Amazon fulfillment centres from have managed to grow at an impressive 30 percent rate year-on-year in India, which signals scale of investment and commitment from the company in the Indian e-commerce market.

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