By Shaan Raza, Deputy Managing Director, Optimise
Shaan Raza, Deputy Managing Director, Optimise
I will particularly talk about digital medium as it is one medium that has grown fastest and it remained my work area since last 13 years. Internet has become such a powerful medium because it is the only two-way communication medium. We Indians embrace any thing democratic.
Internet is so vast & influential that it surpasses the differences of age, SEC, gender and town class. Success of internet is one more example of utilizing our population as our strength. We are 300 Mn + strong internet consuming country and currently are ranked two in terms of internet users just behind China. Internet users have been growing at a tremendous rate from 9 Mn users in 2001 to 300 Mn users in 2016.
2000 - 2005
Once I look back, roughly a decade back, Digital was on a fast evolution mode. Like all new technologies, those were the days when internet access was neither cheap nor easily available. Only the rich had PCs at home and internet connections.
Common user would go to cyber café to access internet and that to for just checking mails. Our youth immediately got addicted to it and students started spending good time in cafes playing online games but still the primary use of internet was to
read emails. Internet penetration rate was as low as less than 1 percent.
"Internet has grown strength to strength, apart from emails other activities got started and users realized it more of a convenience medium"
This was the time when India saw rise of pure internet companies like Info-edge, Make my trip etc. Jobs, News, entertainment and matrimony flourished as major categories. Digital banking was launched but was not successful owing to security
related apprehensions. Ecommerce in India was dominated by travel and retail ecommerce got launched but it was a concept ahead of time. For an average Indian buyer, it was an intriguing concept to see products listed on website which they can see but cannot feel.
Media houses were in race to launch their websites and major media agencies were in a rush to open a digital agency.
Internet has grown strength to strength, apart from emails other activities got started and users realized it more of a convenience medium. Digital banking and ticket booking boomed. Indian railway ticket booking became largest travel ecommerce website.
2006 - 2010
We moved quickly and net users swelled as technology cost came down and now internet access was available on different screens. The second half of 2000 saw some major changes the way internet was being consumed. Broadband became the new face of connectivity and that’s why internet access from home gained prominence. Internet reached out to less affluent section of the society. This was the time when Internet medium started giving competition to other media.
A large number of users accessed Internet on mobile device to send or receive emails, communicate as well as check social networking websites. Majority of the usage centered on these activities. Users had also shown willingness to access app stores as well as watch online videos. This was an encouraging trend for mobile content developers as it shown that the users were willing to access disparate content.
Communication remained the key application over the Internet. Email and chat were the exclusive applications offered by the Internet which did not face any competition from other media vehicles Internet as a role of Infotainer squeezed the share of
traditional media. With the sprouting of applications like gaming, news, blogs etc users found Internet a substitute to library, TV, newspaper and radio.
Online banking, online ticketing, e-tailing were some of the emerging applications which act as hooks to make the users stick to the Internet. These services were some of the extended benefits offered by Internet and used by the application providers to increase the stickiness index.
But still the one of the major challenge was very low internet enetration rate.
This period saw phenomenon growth in video watching. Indians got addicted to screens. Content became the king. Facebook users in India surpassed population of a few countries. Internet companies had started looking India as strategy market to see quick growth. Entrepreneurship was on its peak owning to low cost of user acquisition on internet.
This period saw extraordinary growth in use of mobile. From luxury brands to grocery, everything got sold on internet. Birth of mobile apps surpassed birth rate of our country. Digital commerce has grown at a CAGR of 30 percent from 2011 to 2015 and was at INR 125732 in Dec 2015. Within digital commerce, still the lion’s share was with travel but etailing maintained a strong performance with 57 percent YOY growth. Major rider of this success was availability of cash on delivery which was as high as 70 percent of transactions. Internet became a research medium for buying anything. People compared prices, looked for deals and detailed information before purchasing. That’s how companies got interested in digital advertising. More and more
advertiser wanted to be in consideration set of a user during his research process happening online.
The latest demonetization will compel Indians to try digital avenues and it will be a new era for this medium as more and more Indians will resort to cashless transactions online. The hesitation to use online methods will be over powered by the current needs of a commoner. This move might arrest the challenge of internet penetration but our government must think more on strengthening cyber security.