Saturday, 6 April 2013



In 2009, the number of mobile users in India was 429.73 million. Latest estimates from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) put this number at 906.62 million. In a little over three years, the number of mobile phone users in India has doubled to reach a figure that is greater than the entire population of the European Union and the United States combined. This mobile subscriber base is not only numerous, it is also highly connected. A steady increase in purchasing-power of the Indian middle class, combined with a decrease in the price of mobile handsets and data rates, has created a perfect storm of sorts for the digital Indian consumer.

Octane Marketing, an Indian market intelligence firm, recently released its 2013 report on the Indian mobile users experience. Citing data gathered from a survey of nearly three thousand mobile users, the report highlights the increased connectivity of the almost one billion mobile phone subscribers in India. Of the mobile phone users polled, 64% have a smartphone, while the other 36% use a basic feature phone. While the use of a feature phone might suggest a lack of web access, 54% of feature phone users surveyed had enabled internet on their phones. This number highlights a growing trend among Indian mobile users to leapfrog desktop internet access and move directly to mobile web, a significantly more accessible and affordable mode of internet access.

When asked which activities they conducted on their mobile phones, survey respondents provided perhaps the most intriguing insight. The most popular activity among respondents was not SMS or email, but updating Facebook. 76% of respondents use their mobile phones to update Facebook while only 74% and 64% use it for SMS and email respectively. The social network currently boasts 61.5 million users in India, its third largest user base, and is growing rapidly. We mentioned, in a recent blog post, the propensity of Indian Facebook users to regularly visit the Facebook pages of their favorite brands for updates. This report suggests a similar sentiment, with 78% of respondents saying that they would like to hear from their favorite brand and companies.

As the figures above suggest, Indian consumers are highly connected and regularly interact with companies on Facebook. With this connectivity increasing hand-in-hand alongside disposable income, brands have a highly engaged audience of close to a billion people with which they can interact on a regular basis. As these companies seek out their next billion consumers, their best move might very well be to log into Facebook.



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