Digital Trends 2019 and Social Media Landscape in India

Internet Penetration & Audience

Internet Penetration in India

The number of internet users had increased over the years in rural as well as urban areas. This is expected to cross the 600 million mark in 2019. 

India has 560 million active Internet users as of 2019. India is the second-largest online market, behind China. It is estimated that by 2021 there will be around 636 million active internet users in India. The majority of India’s internet users are mobile phone internet users, who take advantage of cheap alternatives to expensive broadband/ Wi-Fi connections that require PC, laptop and other equipment. Indian mobile data users consume 8.3 gigabits (GB) of data each month on average, compared with 5.5 GB for mobile users in China. Indians have 1.2 billion mobile phone subscriptions and downloaded more than 12 billion apps in 2018. Driven by the increasing availability and decreasing cost of high-speed connectivity and smartphones. The government’s Digital India initiative is bringing broadband internet access to 250 thousand gram panchayats, or self-governing village councils, to make it easier for millions of more people to connect online. Private telecommunications companies are offering attractive packages, providing bundled near-free smartphones and voice plans to anyone who subscribes to their internet services. There has been a significant increase in internet penetration in India since 2015 and figures are forecast to increase in the coming years.

Source: Statista reports 2019

At a state level, NCT of Delhi has registered the highest internet penetration followed by Kerala, J&K, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab. States in the east of India except for Assam and North East, have low internet penetration.

Internet penetration is rising throughout India, the situation is different when it comes to metros with Mumbai having the highest internet population closely followed by Delhi. Overall top 8 metros have the most penetration of Internet users and smaller town have relatively lesser penetration of the Internet goes down as we descend to lower town classes.

Among state groups, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and NCT of Delhi have a higher proportion of female internet users. The split of Male and Female users is 60:40 in Metros with a 5 million-plus population size.

Government initiatives in Kerala like bringing high-speed internet to every household, including its 2 million Below Poverty Line families who would get service for free will aid in reaching out to more potential internet users.

Source: Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)

Top Social Networking Sites

India's Top Social Networking Sites in India

Indians now download more apps –12.3 billion in 2018 – than residents of any other country except China. The average Indian social media user spends 17 hours on the platforms each week, more than social media users in China and the United States. Indian internet users are fond of social media. In 2021, it is estimated that there will be around 448 million social network users in India, a significant increase from 2019 where it figures at 351 million. Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the country. There are about 270 million Facebook users in India as 2019, placing India as the country with the largest Facebook user base in the world. 

The IPL, one in many cricketing events followed religiously in India, had the highest attendance among all cricket leagues worldwide. Apart from the attendance, fans seemed to be keen on updates about their favorite teams. The IPL teams registered over 59 million likes on Facebook alone and more than 81 million followers on Twitter. Most of the Facebook usage came from the younger generation, aged between 18-24 years to be precise, with over 97 million users in 2018. Increased availability of internet connections and access in recent years, propelled by the central government’s Digital India initiative was directly proportional in the growth of social media users.

Source: SEMrush

Active Social Media Users in India

With the ease of internet access, the number of active social media users in India stood at 310 million in January 2019 and by 2023 it is expected to reach 448 million.

Facebook and YouTube are the most popular social media networks in India, Amazon and Flipkart are the most popular online shopping platforms and TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2019.

The entry of WhatsApp into India’s digital market boosted app usage, with a doubling in rural areas in recent years. Data shows that the reach of the messaging service extends wider than just urban areas. Other popular apps include TikTok and Instagram.  

Social video app TikTok has been a huge hit in India, it has reached 1.5 billion downloads worldwide on the App Store as well as Google Play and India leads the chart with 466.8 million or about 31% of all unique installs. 

Source: Statista reports 2019 and Kantar IMRB ICUBE Report

Smart Phones in India

Internet users access in India

Social Media usage in India

Social Media usage in India

Internet users in India - Demographic segmentation

As data packs get cheaper and internet more accessible, Smartphones are increasingly becoming the primary screen for Indian customers, which means, the smartphone and its applications become the principal source of news for about 35% of the country’s internet users, a majority of whom use one or more social networks.

With more than 1 in 3 individuals accessing the Internet in India, penetration in urban is twice that in rural.

The female population is half of the male Internet population. There is a huge gap between male and female internet user numbers, which worsens in the rural context. 

Rural India has a sizeable portion that is devoid of internet access. Thus, there is immense headroom for growth which will contribute to an increase in the overall internet population over the next few years.

Among state groups, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi have a higher proportion of female internet users. The split of Male and Female users is 60:40 in Metros with a 5 million-plus population size.

Overall top 8 metros have the most penetration of Internet users and smaller town have relatively lesser penetration of the Internet goes down as we descend to lower town classes.

Two-thirds of Internet users in India are in the age group of 12-29 years. A higher proportion of this age group is seen in rural areas. Hence, showcasing there is potential for growth in this segment.

Source: Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) 

Digital Ad spending

Total Digital Ad Spend

Digital grew by 37%, adding $613 million to Adex, to reach a size of $2.2 billion in 2019.

Digital advertising includes the ad-spend on video across all digital formats from social media, Over the top platforms including YouTube, gaming, news, and other websites. The share of the video is the highest today and growing at the fastest rate among all digital advertising formats.

In line with global trends, the Indian consumer is increasingly consuming the content on digital platforms. This trend is observed for all types of content including news (text), music (audio), or video. Increasing internet penetration and mobile device proliferation has led to strong factors encouraging greater consumption of content on the internet in India. The broadband subscriber base has grown 37% for 2019 which beats overall growth in internet users. The OTT video segment has seen the maximum traction in the last couple of years. With more than 30 OTT video platforms in the country, multiple audio streaming options and emerging gaming ecosystem has led to an increase in video and audio consumption as there are more diversity and quality in the content. It is estimated that the digital market in India is set to become the second-largest within media and entertainment behind TV by 2022 which will lead to more content creation and more advertisement opportunities.

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