Internet & Social Media are BIG, but how big is BIG?

April 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm 8 comments

Here are some statistics about the growing use of internet in India. (Source IGF, IMRB-IAMAI internet study, iCube report, Google stats)

  1. 102 million unique internet users in India. This implies 8.8% penetration rate.
    • Of the 102 million, 84 million are desktop internet users, 40 million are mobile internet users  and 22 million are ‘dual’ users – i.e. use both desktop and mobile interne
    • According to industry experts, this number is expected to rise to 250-300 million by 2015. These consumers are far more likely to be meeting their digital needs through mobile phones than through personal computers.
  2. There has also been a rise in the time spent on internet as the number of hours spent has gone up from 9.3 hrs/week to 15.7 hrs/week between 2008 and 2009; a 70% increase.
    • This can be attributed to innovative content delivery, improved applications, downloading music or videos, socializing through social networking sites and micro-blogging

To put this in perspective, let’s compare this to other, more mainstream communication channels:

  1. 103 million cable & satellite TV users in India (This does not include Doordarshan which is another 34 million users)
  2. Average time spent viewing TV is 16 hours/ week
  3. Daily circulation of the top 25 national and regional newspapers in India ranges from 0.6 million to 4.2 million each.

Those were the facts about the medium – clearly Internet in India is no longer a channel that can be ignored by a business. Now let’s take a look at the vehicles: (Growth rates basis unique users in March’10 vs. March’11, Source:

  1. Web portals like Yahoo!, Rediff, Indiatimes grew at ~35%
  2. Social networking websites like Facebook grew at a whopping 175%, YouTube grew at 60%, LinkedIn grew at 45%, while Twitter growth was slower in India at 20%. Orkut’s popularity has faded to 20%.Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Blogs, Youtube, etc.
  3. Blogs are not as popular anymore – Blogger didn’t show any growth in the past year and WordPress grew at 10%. That said, blogs are used as a source for information dissemination and not for entertainment or socializing. Therefore, they may still be useful for certain objectives and audience profiles.

The following table gives a snapshot of the viewership and usage of top 12 websites in India

Comparing websites

Not only do the social media sites have an increasing reach but they are also retaining visitors for a longer time.

Need we say more…


Roshni Jhaveri

Entry filed under: Evolving India, India Stats, Social Media Marketing, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Big brother is watching – on the internet too! Who is using the Internet & Social Media?

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hamster  |  April 6, 2011 at 7:51 am

    It’s very exiting to find this site. Aw, this was a really qualitative post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I loiter alot and never seem to get something done.


  • 3. srinivas krishnaswamy  |  April 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

    The eye popping number here for me is the 40 million mobile internet users considering that 3G has just started and last year there were just 10 million smart phones in India.

    But even if the 40 million number is way off, we can’t ignore the direction of the trend. It would be interesting to know which are the top websites for mobile internet users.

    For example , 4% of users have accessed our blog using mobile devices and ipads. Its probably time for website owners to have a mobile strategy and not a mobile version.


    • 4. escapevelocityblog  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:31 am

      Hi Srinivas

      Thanks for your comment. We completely agree with you about the need for a mobile strategy in these times.

      The 40 million mobile internet users was an eye-popping number for us as well and that’s why we decided to hightlight it in our blog. This is the total number of people who have ever used internet on their phones – hence the number is so large (Source: Airtel reports, Google India estimates). But you are right – “active” users would be considerably fewer but the key takeaway is the trend here.

      According to the Indian Cellular Association, 26 million mobile subscribers in India already have 3G-enabled handsets in 2010. In addition, GPRS & EDGE enabled phones are also being used to access the internet and have been around in the market for a longer period of time. Top 10 most popular phones for web-browsing in India are 1. Nokia 5130 XpressMusic 2. Nokia 2700c 3. Nokia 3110c 4. Nokia 2690 5. Nokia N70 6. Nokia 2730c 7. Nokia 6300 8. Nokia N73 9. Nokia N72 10. Nokia 7210c. So, it’s clearly a Nokia dominated market, but this is also changing slowly given the introduction of sub-10,000 rupee smartphones from Micromax, Karbonn, Videocon, etc.

      According to a report released by Opera (one of the leading mobile browsers) in Oct 2010, the top websites (based on unique users) in India include:
      Other popular websites include,,,

      Thanks again for your comments and questions and do continue reading our blog…



  • 6. RJ  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    What next? How do you’ll see social media moving in the next 10 years? My check my FB page when I’m absolutely bored and have a namesake Twitter account. I understand that people much younger than I am, in their teens are probably hooked on to it. But what would need to change for people my age (mid-twenties) and older to be as dependent on it as we have become to email. I understand that it is a very cost-effective way of marketing which is probably why everyone seems to be trying to use it but it just seems to create a lot of clutter and chaos. Why or who would follow a twitter account of DOVE!?


    • 7. escapevelocityblog  |  April 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

      Hi R,
      As usual, an interesting and thought-provoking comment from you – but by now, our expectations are set and we expect no less.

      In the next ten years, we see social media growing in popularity as internet penetration increases, also we see a lot more users accessing social media via mobile phones. What we cannot predict at all is the form of social media that people will be accessing ten years hence – will facebook, twitter still be popular ? We are not sure about that since the social media space is constantly evolving and so far we haven’t seen many signs of loyalty amongst social media users. We may see a totally different set of sites / destinations that will be popular ten years hence. What will remain constant is the urge to stay connected and to be heard.

      A lot of Indians seem to feel the same way as you do about Twitter, it’s popularity is much lower than facebook’s – could be that we are a garrulous set by nature and 140 characters is just too constrained for us ! 🙂

      But check out the facebook accounts of Nivea, MTV, Cadbury Celebrations etc to understand why the medium is popular with marketers. It’s difficult to ignore a medium that gets you a direct connect with hundreds or thousands commenting on the message you send out.
      It’s not just the low cost, it’s the interactive nature and the surety that someone commenting on your update has definitely read it, it hasn’t got lost in the clutter. Many companies, esp those in the fashion business, even use facebook to get reactions from customers on new designs etc, which helps reduce the chances of a design being unfavourably received. Suffice it to say that while systems to measure impact are still evolving, nobody wants to miss the bus and hence the eagerness to clamber aboard.

      Whew ! This reaction to your comment is so long that we are tempted to turn it into a full-fledged blog post !

      We have lots more to say on the topic, so if you don’t want to wait until we get down to writing it, do drop in at office for a cuppa coffee and a chat anytime.

      EV team


      • 8. RJ  |  April 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

        I’ve heard your coffee is rather good so I just might take you up on that offer.


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