Mobile communication is the most important technological innovation in the history of our planet. Mobile phone users grew from zero to six billion in 25 years, the most rapidly adopted technology ever. The resulting mobile app platform today is transforming economies, education, language, health care, music, safety, privacy and the quality of life for the elderly, and those with disabilities around the world.
Smartphone use in India, for example, is quickly becoming the dominant way for the country’s 900 million mobile phone users to stay connected. The app economy is helping farmers increase their crop yields and profits, and urban Indians are using their smartphones to order food, watch cricket, and do online banking. Much like their American counterparts, the dramatic growth for mobile technology in India is driven by a desire among Indians to stay in on it, and have instant access to social networking sites.
According to the IMF, India’s economy is growing faster than China in 2015 due to policy reforms brought in by the one-year-old Modi government. The Indian prime minister’s multi-purpose approach includes a strategy for long-term investment in infrastructure and technology. Additionally, the Indian government is stimulating the economy by focusing on key areas rather than simply cutting taxes for industry. The government’s budget and policy reforms are enabling businesses, investors, and consumers to have greater confidence for a sustainable future.
Making haste with the mobile platform, Smartphones in India are increasingly becoming commonplace. The lowering cost of data plans is encouraging people to trade in their traditional phones for new smartphones with higher app functionality. For companies hoping to monetize on the India market, it will be important to recognize the culture’s unique attributes. Indian society is more open and communal than the West, this leads to an increased importance of constantly staying in touch.
Indian culture has a long tradition allowing people to infringe on what would be considered one's personal space. This is why smartphone use in certain situations, is tolerated. For example, it’s accepted for people to take calls at highly official functions, such as business meetings. People are also taking calls inside movie theaters. People don't know if the call is important so they take the call. Another quirky fact about India is that the caller may get to hear a Bollywood song, chosen by the subscriber instead of a ring tone. Known as caller tunes, the subscriber is charged for this monthly and these tunes are big money makers and sources of entertainment.
The smartphone is quickly becoming the dominant way of communication between India’s 1.3 billion citizens to always-be-connected. What makes the India story uncommon is the diversity within the market. There is adequate demand potential both at the top and bottom of the market. The aspirational Indian consumer is willing to pay a premium for the top brands that have the best to offer, and at the same time there is enough volume at the bottom thanks to the value-conscious customer.
India is the perfect example of a world where a company and its customers are connected 24/7. India is a vibrant place where the customer relationship, the value proposition and the business model of every app and company are in the process of being transformed. The winners will likely be determined by who innovates most effectively in this always-connected world.