How Mobiles Are Helping Widen The World Wide Web

Mary Meeker, based in the US, runs a global technology investment firm, Bond. She has released her annual report, “Internet Trends 2019″. The report pegs India’s contribution to the world’s 3.8 billion active internet user base at 12%, behind only China’s. Mint decodes the numbers for India as more than half the world’s population logs onto the world wide web.

What is India’s contribution to the internet ecosystem?

At the end of 2018, there were 3.8 billion active internet users in the world, which is more than half the population. Of this, India, at 12%, was behind only China’s 21% and ahead of the 8% of the US. This means around 456 million Indians are active online, though the report doesn’t give absolute numbers or distinguish between mobile internet usage and other devices. There were almost 30 internet mobile users for every fixed line broadband consumer in India, as per data of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. This points to a population that mostly uses internet on mobiles.

What’s driving the growth of internet in the country?

Good smartphones are available even in the sub- Rs. 10,000 range. This has combined with cheap data plans—a result of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s entry into the telecom services market in 2016—to make it affordable for the masses to use them. With that subset of the ecosystem complete, video streaming platforms such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime also enhanced their programming to help people cut their cords. The advent of online payment platforms such as Paytm and Google Pay has also helped people gain access to content and pay for it in a user-friendly manner.

What is the mobile phone being used for around the world?

The mobile phone is finding varied uses around the world. Using mobiles for booking tickets and making transactions is a given, but the usage in such cases is infrequent and short-lived. According to Mary Meeker’s report, making short-form videos on mobile phones is a rage in China. In the US, an increasing number of people are using the device to get information on health, as well as for mobile tracking, besides coupling it with wearables. Interactive gaming is a fast accelerating activity, with 2.4 billion online players at the end of 2018 and rising at 6% every year.

How is a change in content driving growth?

The report talks about how people first took to images, then videos and then began to edit them for sharing with friends and relatives. While the report doesn’t say this, the sharing of videos seems to have led to an explosion of internet usage. It shows how Pinterest and Instagram have ramped up the functionality of their platforms to drive e-commerce.

Which are the popular online platforms?

Worldwide, 30% of users logged onto Facebook more than once a day, with 27% going to YouTube in the December quarter, says the report. WhatsApp and WeChat were next in terms of popularity. Even as firms spent the most on Google and Facebook for US-based online advertising, Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest gained market share. Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitch rounded out the top 10 most popular platforms.―Livemint

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