The three big drivers of Indian internet penetration have been, and continue to remain, dropping prices of data and smartphones and the rise of Indian languages, said Rajan Anandan, VP (Southeast Asia and India) at Google
"From 10-15 million Daily Active Users (DAU) in 2011 to over 300 million DAU today, at the current pace of growth we expect the total number of internet users to be 650 million by 2020. It does not matter which industry you are from, your future consumer will be online and will be very, very active online," he said.
Speaking about smartphone penetration, he noted that India had moved from 10 million smartphones in 2011 to 300 million in 2017 and with the current growth rate would likely touch 500 million by 2020.
"The first big cost barrier that smartphones crossed was the Rs 10,000 barrier. When we crossed this we went from 10 million to 150 million connected smartphone users. The next barrier was about three years ago when we started getting sub Rs 6000 smartphones. Our thought is that the next price barrier we will cross is the Rs 2000-2500 one. By early next year, India should have a very high quality smartphone at this price and that will pretty much take us to 500 million users," he said.
The second biggest factor, according to him, has been the drastic fall in cost of data. He pointed out that we have gone from a nation where data would cost Rs 250/GB to where mass plans now start from as little as Rs10/GB.
Speaking about Reliance Jio, Anandan admitted that Google had expected to see a significant dip in consumption once Jio started charging for internet access. However, he said that there was only a slight dip for a couple of weeks and usage (of products) has, in fact, increased significantly.
"The overall data consumption of mobile data in India today is significantly higher than China, which has around 800 million mobile internet users," he said.
The growth of Indian languages has also contributed significantly to growth of the Internet in India. "We started seeing the emergence of the Indic internet about three years ago. Last year, non-English search queries grew 10x faster than English search queries. Non English content consumption is growing 5x faster than English content. Almost every single new user that comes to the Internet is not proficient in English. As India goes from 400 to 500 million users, most of these users will be accessing the Internet in a non-English language," he said.
On the growth of video content, Anandan said that watch time in India has grown 400 per cent YoY, making it the second largest market in terms of watch time for YouTube. Uploaded content has also grown by 90 per cent while around 85 per cent of YouTube content is seen on mobile. "If you talk in terms of absolute reach, YouTube is in the top three and if you talk about reach in urban India, YouTube is way ahead of TV,” he informed.
e-commerce, according to him, would reach $200 billion by 2025 from $17 billion in 2016, though it would be significantly smaller than China which reported a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $750 billion last year. "If you think about e-commerce as a five-match test series, we are in the first day of the first test," he said.
Anandan was speaking at the first edition of the Indian Premier Partner Awards held in Mumbai on Thursday.