Mary Meeker’s annual deck for the Internet Trends report is considered by many as the “the bible” for investors and for 2017, the report has a lot to say about India. For the uninitiated, Mary Meeker is legendary in Silicon Valley and the tech industry at large. And every year at Recode’s Code Conference (earlier at the AllThingsD conference), Meeker, now a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, shares her insights in the form of a massive deck of slides with the world at large about the progress of internet and its uses in the world. This year too, Meeker was there on the big red chair alongside Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to present the Internet Trends Report 2017. And out of the 355 slides, a whopping 55 slides were dedicated just to India, indicating the importance of the market. Here are our 5 big takeaways:

India is the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak internet growth curve

1/5India is the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak internet...
India is the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak internet growth curve
Meeker’s report stated that the number of India’s internet users continues to grow despite slowing growth globally. The number currently stands at 355 million. That is roughly 27 per cent of the country’s population. Globally, that puts India right below China in the market. No wonder, giants like Apple and Samsung are rushing to India like locusts.

Growth of internet users remained flat at 10 per cent globally, but India grew steadily at 28 per cent from June 2016, resulting in a 40 per cent growth from 2015 to 2016. Now if you can recall, Reliance Jio came out of testing and launched for the nation at large. Data was cheap and easy to get and a ride in the Delhi metro will be enough to confirm the spread of internet in the country.

Indians have started to buy more phones again

2/5Indians have started to buy more phones again
Indians have started to buy more phones again
After a dip in the volume of smartphone shipments in the second and third quarter of 2016, sales picked up towards the end of last and has so far been going strong this year. Growth was negative at -3 per cent in 2016, but it has picked up to 6 per cent by the first quarter of 2017. Meeker credits the growth to the influx of Chinese players in the market - Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. This has brought the prices of smartphones down a lot and there is intense competition in the budget and mid-range segments.

Indian players are facing stiff competition from their Chinese counterparts and have thus shifted focus towards low-end 4G feature phones, a market which is still bigger than smartphones in the country. Chinese players have enticed Indian buyers with superior build quality of phones alongside innovative features. The online sales model is also a factor and so is Reliance Jio’s dominance.

However, it has to be noted that despite phone prices going down, the entry-level cost of a smartphone in India is still considered unaffordable by many in India. The price of an average entry-level smartphone is 8 per cent of the country’s annual average per capita GDP.

Now we can only wait and wonder what is going to happen once Nokia re-enters the Indian market this June. A possible shift in loyalty? Maybe.

Amidst stiff competitions in data pricing, consumers were the most benefited

3/5Amidst stiff competitions in data pricing, consumers were...
Amidst stiff competitions in data pricing, consumers were the most benefited
Reliance Jio’s unrestrained trial run for over a year made the telecom industry in India scrambling to cut mobile data prices. In the face of this intense competition, consumers in India have benefited the most. As a result of Jio’s free data offering, internet data prices fell by a massive 48 per cent in response to Reliance Jio’s entry into the market.

Indians also made the most of the price drop and there was a 9 per cent year-on-year increase in mobile data usage in the country. Video intensive apps like Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were quite the favourites. Google even launched a data-friendly version of YouTube just for India.

Thanks to cheaper data and low smartphone prices, more first-time users are coming onboard through smartphones than desktops in India.

Turns out, India is quite app-savvy

4/5Turns out, India is quite app-savvy
Turns out, India is quite app-savvy
India also spends the most amount of time on Android. India overtook the US in terms of the number of apps downloaded in 2016 indicating a fast growth in the market. But the data is quite dicey as China was not considered in the data set. That’s because there is no Google Play Store in China.

In terms of the apps downloaded, all the usual suspects are there. WhatsApp tops the list followed by FaceBook Messenger. ShareIt, an offline file transfer app came third while Sweden-based caller identifier app, Truecaller came fourth. Facebook, UC Browser, Hotstar and JioTV were the rest of the prominent apps to feature on the top 10.

Here’s what Indians do on their phones

5/5Here’s what Indians do on their phones
Here’s what Indians do on their phones
So what have Indians been doing with all the free data in the internet? Entertainment and chatting of course. Meeker’s report stated that just 2 per cent of the time spend on smartphones were used for consuming news while a massive 45 per cent accounted for entertainment while 34 per cent of the time was spent on searching, messaging and social media. Out of that, 46 per cent of the Indians online consumed content in their local language. On a sidenote, consumption of print was only for just 2 hours in the week. Is the death of print looming large in India as well? We’ll wait for another blockbuster report from the legend for that.


Read the full report here.