Fortumo's latest market report gives an overview of the carrier billing ecosystem in India. India is home to the world’s second largest smartphone user base after China, having overtaken the US in the beginning of 2016.
India is a mobile-first market with the primary device for online access being a mobile device. Today, a majority of these devices are still primarily feature phones but thanks to low-cost Android phones, smartphone ownership is growing rapidly. GSMA Intelligence estimates that emerging markets like India will reach 70% smartphone penetration by 2020. In fact, while internet growth in the rest of the world is slowing down, for India it is accelerating.
The large growth in smartphones presents a significant opportunity for digital content merchants. As a low income economy, smartphones are one of the key channels of entertainment for a majority of the population. This is also evident in the fact that people cut back on spending in other consumer goods segments at the expense of entertainment on smartphones. Despite lower income, Indians spend as much money on mobile games as the global average.
With 1.3 billion people, most digital content merchants now have expansion in India part of their core strategy. But India is a very different market from say the US or Germany. Lower user income and access to payment methods, cultural differences and lack of access to mobile data are the key differentiators which require merchants to create an alternative strategy to growing in India.
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