India 530 million smartphones 2018

A smartphone is an important tool for digital ecosystem. Be it the internet, the hardware making companies or the businesses which are revolved around the smartphones. Features like advanced connectivity, GPS, cameras and most importantly the multi-functionality of various programs make smartphones different than feature phones. Smartphones are a great source of revenue for media entertainment agencies, e-commerce companies, fintech firms and startups. The definition of the smartphone will slowly vanish with the likes of JioPhone and other competitively priced devices from telecom players like Airtel, Vodafone and state-run BSNL.

Data is the new oil and the smartphone is an engine. India has witnessed the surge of data usages after the attractive data prices from telcos. India was ranked 150th in Broadband penetration in 2015 and within just 18 months, the data miracle happened. Today, India consumes more than 100 crore GB data per month, mostly from 4G enabled smartphones making it the most data-dependent nation in the world. Today, we are ranked at Number 1 with almost double the margin of data consumed than China. The surge in data has been extremely beneficial for e-commerce players, financial technology companies, influential marketers, Youtubers and of course the government for the last mile deliveries of its services.

Mobile devices are now the primary means of accessing the internet for most users and will account for 73% of time spent using the internet in 2018, up from 70% in 2017 and 65% in 2016. Mobile internet usage has doubled since 2011, when it accounted for 36% of all internet users. By 2019, we expect it to account for 76%. The markets where mobile devices have the highest shares of internet use are geographically diverse. Spain is top, with an estimated 81% of internet use coming from mobile devices this year, followed by Italy (78%), China and the US (each at 77%) and India (73%).

The boom of the smartphones is likely to continue for another few years. The cost of a smartphone are continuously falling and to tap new users, newly entered telcos are offering effectively free smartphones to its users. Within a few years, the high-speed internet will be available to everyone and every single village in India. States like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have taken the mission into priority and has already declared internet as the basic human right.

In 2018, 66% of individuals in 52 key countries will own a smartphone, up from 63% in 2017 and 58% in 2016, according to Zenith’s Mobile Advertising Forecasts 2017. The number of smartphone owners will increase by 7% year on year in 2018, compared to 10% growth in 2017, 14% in 2016 and 21% in 2015. Netherland, Taiwan, Ireland and Hong Kong will have a smartphone penetration of more than 90%.  The country with the highest number of smartphone users will be China, with 1.3 billion users, followed by India, with 530 million users. The US will be third, with 229 million users.

The internet has created unlimited possibilities. If India successfully manages to spread low-cost high speed internet along with LTE enabled devices to all its remote corners, the intelligent youth of her country can create wonders for the world and make it a much better place to live in.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni.

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