Mobile explosion in India
Editorial

Mobile explosion in India

Like other developing countries, India is in the middle of a smartphone explosion that will result in the mass adoption of mobile e-commerce.

India is a country at a digital crossroads. According to a report by Mary Meeker, a partner at Silicon valley venture capital firm KPCB, India added 63 million new internet users in 2014 – a 37% increase to 232 million. That’s faster than any other country, with more than twice as many people added compared with China.

However, there are similarities with other developing countries, chief of which is that mobile is driving the trend.

Here are five key statistics from 2014:

  • Smartphone subscriptions grew 55% to 140 million
  • 15% of phones in India are smartphones
  • 11% of Indians are now smartphone subscribers – so there’s plenty of room for growth
  • 65% of the country’s internet traffic is from mobile devices, as of May 2015
  • 41% of e-commerce in 2014 was through mobile devices.

As the global leader in the adoption of mobile e-commerce, incomers to India are well advised to take it into account – or even build their strategy around it.

It might seem counter-intuitive to go down to a single platform when everyone is talking about omnichannel retail, but one company in India has taken the statistics on mobile growth so seriously that it has done just that.

Bangalore-based Myntra, a major Indian online retailer specialising in fashion and lifestyle products, got rid of its standard internet site in favour of an app-only model this May.

The International Business Times reports that this resulted in an initial 10% dip in sales, but the long-term viability of ditching desktop remains to be seen.

It’s a risky move because, despite all the positive statistics, Ericcson found in a major study of 15,000 households across 33 cities that many Indians still face connectivity issues. More than 60% experience issues such as inconsistent speed, no availability of 3G and connection breaks even within their own homes, let alone when on the move.

This could hamper the growth of mobile e-commerce by making payment more difficult, and is a major issue to be overcome.

Rob Coston Reporter CPL
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