Kapil Ohri

The adoption of mobile devices for surfing internet will happen faster in India: Mahesh Narayanan

Narayanan shared some data to define the new mobile ecosystem in India while speaking at afaqs! Mobile Conversations event in New Delhi

Titled 'The new mobile ecosystem', the first keynote session of Mobile Conversations, the mobile marketing conference held at The Lalit, New Delhi, had Mahesh Narayanan, country manager, business development (mobile) of Google India sharing some interesting data.

Narayanan highlighted that the mobile ecosystem is undergoing a major change. The number of mobile web users is increasing at a faster pace. He estimated that India has about 150 million mobile web users as of now. He clarifies that 150 million mobile internet base includes both on-deck and off deck users. Currently there are 50 million mobile web off-deck users in the country and it is expected to cross 70 million mark by end of 2011. On-deck implies mobile web properties owned by telecom operators, while off-deck means mobile web properties which are not owned by a telecom operator. Sharing the key findings of a consumer survey conducted by Google in India, he pointed out that 78 per cent mobile web users were in the age range of 18-34 years, 75 per cent mobile internet users were males, and 23 per cent of the mobile web users accessed internet via smartphones. Nine out of 10 mobile internet users were graduates.

The adoption of mobile devices for surfing internet will happen faster in India: Mahesh Narayanan
He said, "We expect that 15-30 per cent of the traffic on websites will be routed via mobile devices in the next 18 months."

Narayanan added that there will be more internet users on mobile than users who access internet on desktop computers by 2013, according to the forecast of Morgan Stanley. He said, "I believe that this transition and adoption of mobile devices for surfing the net will happen faster in India."

He emphasised that the adoption of mobile devices among consumers is happening quickly. There are four billion active mobile devices in the world. "It took about 20 years to reach the one billion mobile devices mark. The second billion took about four years. The third billion took about two years. The fourth billion in mobile devices actually took less than a year," Narayanan said.

He added, "If we compare the growth of adoption of mobile devices with other media platforms, we will find that mobile is the fastest growing medium. Radio took 38 years to cross the 50 million (adoption) mark. Television took 13 years to cross the 50 million mark. Internet took four years to achieve the same number of users. Apple iPhone took just three years to reach 50 million."

According to information technology research and advisory company Gartner, 46 per cent of the world phones will be smartphones by 2013, compared to 9 per cent now. Talking about the rise of Android in the overall mobile ecosystem, he said that more than four lakh Android devices are activated daily, as compared to 3.75 lakh iOS (Apple iPhone software), globally. However, he did not reveal the number of Android-based mobile devices activated daily in India.

Narayanan further highlighted that the mobile applications (app) economy is growing at a crazy rate. He revealed that eight billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2010, globally. According to Gartner research, the revenue from 'app' economy could be around US$5.2 billion (2010). It will reach up to US$15 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach US$58 billion by the end of 2014.

"We really need to figure out how we can leverage this app economy. App development is a completely new phenomenon," Narayanan said.

Parijat Chakraborty, senior vice-president, technology and B2B, TNS India, also said that consumption of apps is expected to increase in India. In a session titled 'Integration of apps in mobile strategy', he revealed a few facts about apps from a TNS study called 'Mobile Life'. He said that only 3 per cent of the respondents studied, downloaded applications on their mobile devices. However, more than 35 per cent showed their interest in downloading apps on mobile devices.

Chakraborty believes that the key reasons which will lead to explosion of apps in India are -- improved user interface of apps, affordable data plans and urge of consumers to stay updated. A combined effort to promote apps by all players of the mobile ecosystem will also support the rise of apps consumption in India.

He said that mobile app usage has outstripped desktop and mobile web usage in the US, according to a mobile analytics firm named Flurry. As per the information available on Blog.Flurry.com, the average user now spends 81 minutes on mobile apps per day, as compared to 74 minutes on the internet in a day. In 2010, the average user spent 43 minutes on mobile apps and 64 minutes on internet, in a single day.

In his keynote address, Narayanan also shared a few mobile trends discovered through the study conducted by Google. He said that consumers are using mobile devices for search, social connectivity and commerce. He added that 50 per cent of smartphone users start their mobile web usage through 'internet search'. Eighty per cent smartphone users 'search mobile web for information' at least once daily on their mobiles. 73 per cent users surveyed use social networking facility through mobiles. Fifty six per cent of smartphone users use their phones for shopping. Forty nine per cent of the surveyed users changed their in-store buying decision based on information extracted via surfing the internet on mobile devices. Sixty three per cent respondents are expected to use their smartphones for shopping in the next 12 months.

Mobile Conversations 2011 was supported by Navteq Media Solutions, One97 Communications and Jivox India as associate sponsors, ValueFirst as the mobility partner, TNS Global as the knowledge partner and Business Wire India as the official news distribution partner. The telecom portal of afaqs! The Mobile Indian, was the online media partner for the conference.

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