Fueled by a rapidly rising demand for services and content as more and more Indians go online using handsets, mobile app usage is expected to witness a multi-fold growth with the industry projected to contribute a whopping Rs18 lakh crore or $70.9 billion to the country’s economy in the next three years. A study by policy think tanks, ICRIER and Boradband India Forum (BIF), suggests that a 17% growth in total internet traffic in India during 2015-16 contributed to an increase of Rs7 lakh crore in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of which at least Rs1.36 lakh crore or $20.4 billion was due to Internet-based app services. “The Internet economy could contribute up to $537.4 billion to India’s GDP by 2020, of which a minimum of $70.9 billion or Rs18.28 lakh crore could be attributed to apps,” the report estimates. It said that a 10% increase in India’s Internet traffic delivers on an average a 3.3% growth in the country’s GDP and a 10% increase in India’s mobile Internet traffic, delivers on an average a 1.3% rise in GDP.
Explaining the rationale behind the growth, BIF president TV Ramachandran said that mobiles have become ubiquitous among Indians, with over 1.2 billion connections today. Last year, India grew to become the second largest market of mobile phones globally, with about half of its population having a mobile phone. In the same year, it also became the second largest smartphone market.
While the smartphone market continues to grow, its penetration currently represents about 30% of the country’s population. This growth also represents a significant change in its utility from being merely a communication device using voice telephony to a consumption device with numerous offerings ranging from entertainment to e-governance services, he added. The study was unveiled by telecom minister Manoj Sinha. Going ahead, Ramachandran said that internet apps and services are disrupting traditional industries and regulation and globally evolving to strike the right balance between protecting consumer and business interests as well as encouraging the ecosystem to innovate further.