Over the past decade, India has seen an explosion in data usage, with almost 300 million rural internet users coming online. Google is dedicating an entire program, called The Next Billion, to an audience who is coming to the Internet for the first time. Several web companies are thriving and showing double-digit growth, all thanks to this huge audience coming online.
Entertainment products like MXPlayer, Gaana, YouTube, etc. have penetrated the remotest corners of the city, while apps like Sharechat are creating social media businesses focussed on the vernacular audience. New employment opportunities are created through businesses like Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, etc. and creators are having a blast with products like Tiktok and YouTube.
But what we’ve seen so far in the last decade seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the articles that could help us predict technological innovation in the next decade.
India 1, India 2 and India 3 by Sajith Pai –
Sajith Pai did a great job of classifying India into three distinct user types, which he compares with different countries around the world.
India 1, the affluent group of people, those having the power to spend on expensive brands, represent a market similar to Mexico. By comparing this market with Mexico, Sajith mentions how India’s startups have a market sizing problem. A lot of niche startups have got funded, while the market is not ready for these. Startups like Nykaa, a cosmetics company, are focussing on this audience.
India 2, the emerging middle class of India, which is the bulk of the market, is being compared to the Philippines by Sajith. To win in this market, Sajith mentions that one has to get rid of their attachment to English and win the vernacular market. There’s a lot of activity happening for this audience right now, with startups like Sharechat, Pratilipi, etc. focussing on building apps that don’t need a user to know English.
India 3, which Sajith compares with Sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa, is an interesting market. To win in this market, founders will have to rethink their knowledge of design and language. I think this market is the ultimate test of user experience, and I am curious to see what Google does with its next billion users initiative.
For most established products, most of the growth is going to come from India 2 and India 3.
You can read the original article, India2, English Tax and Building for the Next Billion Users here.
Searching for Superman by Inc42
Similar to WeChat in India, the race for finding a super-app in India is on. A super app is an app that people use tens of times every day, to facilitate everything from entertainment, bookings to payments and networking.
With the free market India offers, there are almost a dozen apps that are running in this race, the top two being WhatsApp and PayTM.
Apps like Hike have tried to delve deeper into the super app strategy but decided to move away from it, considering that India is a diverse market that likes choice of different apps for a single purpose.
The race is interesting to monitor, but I think we will never see a clear winner of this race, which is not a bad thing! The more the competition, the better the services for a consumer.
The future for consumer internet in India is bright.
Read the full article, Searching for Superman here.
The time for OTT is here:
Over the top entertainment companies like Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, etc. are heavily focusing their efforts on India. The reason is obvious – one of the fastest growing internet market. With traditional television moving online, it will be very interesting to see how our audience adapts to this new form of media.
Hotstar set the world record for the highest number of concurrent streaming users during the Cricket World Cup Semifinal in 2019, with as many as 25.3 million users streaming at the same time. Other sports leagues, such as the Pro Kabaddi League are also getting a higher viewership because of their focus online.
The video OTT market in India is estimated to be INR 21.5 billion with advertising contributing up to 80 percent of the total revenue – of around INR 17.2 billion. To woo the audience who doesn’t pay for its content, Netflix is piloting an India-first mobile-only pricing model, which, if successful, Netflix will try out in other emerging markets too.
Read the full article, The Indian OTT saga gets interesting, by OTT experts here.
UPI hits 1bn transactions and goes global by inc42
Unified Payments Interface, the platform developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a governmental organization, has shown tremendous success in the digitization of financial transactions in India. Just three years after its launch, UPI lodged a billion transactions happening through it.
The beauty of UPI lies in the common infrastructure it provides to private companies to build apps on top of. All you need to pay someone is their phone number or UPI ID. The transactions are instant, with no lag. For users, this means a simple, secure and free mode of transferring money, paying bills and scheduling payments.
In this aspect, India has leaped ahead of the most advanced countries in the world.
Earlier this year, the NPCI decided to go global. The NPCI is working with Singapore to enable UPI transactions in the country.
The UPI is the biggest example of a government-led initiative to provide a common infrastructure on top of which private players could build their businesses. Google, Walmart, Amazon, PayTM, etc. are all heavily investing in this space.
Read the full articles:
The growth of the gig economy by QZ India:
With technology, employment opportunities are changing. Dunzo, Ola, Uber, Swiggy, and Zomato are leading an organized gig economy, where an individual has total flexibility over their work hours and thus, their earnings.
At the same time, freelancing is growing in popularity, with as many as 24% of global gig workers coming from India. Startups like TapChief, Frapp, FlexingIt, and Upwork are growing to tap this market.
In the next decade, we will see a rise in unconventional jobs, which could lead to greater incomes for individuals.
Read the full article, How and why are young Indians looking for white-collar gig jobs here.
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Apart from these, we have seen several sparse movements, like the EV movement. This is yet to materialize, so I didn’t include it here.
What else do you think can help us think about what could be next for India?