"India is at an incredible place when it comes to the digital economy," said Rajan Anandan, VP Google India and South East Asia as he opened his address to a gathering of senior advertising executives at the AAAI Subhas Ghosal memorial lecture 2018.
Speaking about the behaviour of "The new Indian internet user" Anandan added that most of the new users are accessing the Internet on their phone pointing out that 70 percent of phones shipped into India have a 2 GB RAM or more. Despite the acute affordability constraints, phones are getting better and better, he said.
He said that the large scale consumption of data is driven by affordability. The street price per GB of data has come down from 3 USD to 30 Cents in India leading to an 18x growth in the internet consumption.
Indians were consuming 8 GB of data per month compared to developed markets like the UK where the average user consumption was still at 3 GB. He added that India was consuming more mobile data than US and China combined. "The affordable mobile data constraint is solved now."
Anandan said the major development was that most of the new users were consuming the internet in their local language. He said when the new internet users were also setting new trends as there had been a 270 percent growth in voice searches and a 400 per cent increase in Hindi voice searches over the internet over the last 12 months. "There has been an explosive growth of voice," he said.
According to him, Internet usage behaviour had leapfrogged from message first to video first. and said that the time spent on video versus social had shifted largely in favour of video. "Data is cheap and video is intuitive," he said.
He added that the growing adoption of e commerce and payments would result in an increase in transactions from USD 2 Bn or 2 percent of total retail in 2017 to 200 Bn in 2025.
However, he points out that the 95 MN internet shoppers in India only spent an average of 224 USD compared to USD 1850 spends by Chinese Internet shoppers per year. He said that over 50 million Indians had tried e-commerce once, but never bought again suggesting that players need to increase their service levels significantly.
Anandan added that digital payments volumes growing rapidly driven by UPI. He said that the potential was a Trillion dollars over the next five years.
Highlighting the advantages for India in an AI first world, he said that AI startups were driving growth across sectors, citing the examples of Niramai and sig tuple in medical diagnostics or byju in learning.
He ended by saying that the key sectors that would be transformed by the Internet included, agricultural, financial inclusion, public transportation, education and healthcare. "The real need is to solve for India," he said.