India: Country Pulse (April 2010)

Hot topics in April 2010: Indian onliners, the colours of India, and the changing census.

Indian onliners

In a recent report commissioned by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in collaboration with market research company IMRB, active users (who use the internet at least once per month) were found to have risen from 42 million in September 2008 to 52 million in September 2009.

The report states “This surge in numbers has been primarily due to the increased number of users in the remote urban pockets (small metropolitan areas and towns) and among a broader range of socio-economic classes. This development has been more striking this year as the combined usage of these geographies and classes have overtaken top cities and higher socio-economic classes in numbers.”

Furthermore, internet usage has gone up from 9.3 hours weekly to 15.7 hours per week suggests the report. The reasons being innovative content delivery, better applications and increased use for entertainment purposes, social networking and micro blogging. The president of IAMAI Subho Roy says “For a deeper engagement we need to provide them the best innovation in the language of their choice, at an access cost that does not pinch and through a device that they have.” Imagine a world of 1.2 billion Internet users in one country?

The colours of India

According to Professor SenGupta on his blog centred on youth trend insights in India, Indian youth are segmenting into three groups: the Bharatiyas and In’glo’dians and a middle group with no name. The definitions are as follows: Bharatiyas who live in rural areas account for 67% of the youth population and are the least influenced by globalisation.

The middle group, around 31.5% are only moderately influenced by globalisation and firmly rooted in family values, customs and ethos. However the In’glo’dians are the ones to watch. Although they only account for 1.5% of the youth market, this segment is growing at 70% per annum. They are internet-savvy, influenced by Western thought and trends, innovative and different from the masses but Indian at heart.

The changing census

Many people are aware that India is undertaking the largest census in its history. According to the Census Office, in 1947 India was 80% rural and on the first census in 1951 the only question concerned the respondents’ place of birth. In 1961, the census expanded its questions to whether the respondent was born in an urban or rural area.

In 1971, respondents were also asked whether their last place of residence was rural or urban, the age of the head of the household at the birth of the first child and the age of a woman at marriage. In 1981, the census asked for the reason for the migration from the last place of residence, and the number of infants. In 2001, the age of marriage for males was added, as was the distance workers needed to travel to get to work.

This year, the census will record building materials, use of houses, drinking water and the availability of toilets, electricity, mobile phones, computers and household internet connections.