In India, Mobile Phone Use is the Elephant in the Room

In India, Mobile Phone Use is the Elephant in the RoomWhile smartphones are slower to catch on for a host of reasons, it’s still a milestone for India that for the first time, the majority of the country’s population will be on mobile phones.

That’s according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of mobile phone, mobile phone internet, and smartphone usage around the globe. The eMarketer stats show that 2014’s 10.7 percent growth in mobile usage has led to 47.0 percent penetration, or a total mobile population there of about 581.1 million people.

“By the end of our forecast period, more than three-quarters of a billion people in India will own and use a mobile phone at least once per month,” notes eMarketer. “Smartphone usage is significantly lower: around one-fifth of mobile phone users in the country will have a smartphone this year, eMarketer estimates. In 2018, that share will still reach only 36.0 percent.”

But it’s a changing marketplace in India. Research suggests that at least 34.1 percent of consumers will access mobile internet via phone at least once per month. That provides an opening to marketers, as more people in India than ever before will be reachable via mobile.

Growth there is inevitable, as eMarketer anticipates advertisers to spend $32.7 million in 2014 and $58.9 million in 2015 on mobile internet ads. The next few years will be pivotal; in fact, 2018 figures are expected to be as high as $280.1 million.