According to Meeker, India’s internet growth story has largely come from Reliance Jio
Meeker's report also reveals that owing to the large base of services Jio offers, the data usage has doubled in 2019 to close to 18 exabytes
New Delhi: More than half the world’s population is active on the internet, with India accounting for about 12% of them, retaining its second position, an annual report on internet trends by venture capitalist Mary Meeker said on Tuesday.
China has the largest base, accounting for 21% of all internet users globally, and the US comes third at 8%.
The number of people active online in 2018 was approximately 3.8 billion, or 51% of the world’s population. That compares with the previous year’s 3.6 billion people, or 49% of the world’s population.
The growth in internet users in India was driven by cut-price data plans introduced by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and cheaper smartphones, the report said.
According to Meeker, Reliance Jio has created a hybrid, online-to-offline commerce platform by integrating Reliance Retail’s physical marketplace with Reliance Jio’s digital infrastructure and services, thus doubling its growth in a year to a total of 307 million subscribers.
“This platform will bring together 350 million customer footfalls at Reliance Retail stores, 307 million Jio connectivity customers and 30 million small merchants all over India who provide the last-mile physical market connectivity," the report cited Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani as saying.
Jio’s free voice call and cheap data plans have helped double data usage in a year, the report said.
In the online education and learning platforms segment, Meeker mentioned India’s Byju’s, a company that offers video-based classes for students in the 9-17 age group and has about 2 million subscribers.
Globally, the report claims that growth in e-commerce has quickened to 12.4% in 2018 from 12.1% in the previous year. E-commerce also accounts for about 15% of the share of US retail sales. Internet ad spending grew 22% in 2018, faster than the 21% in the previous year, with platforms such as Google and Facebook leading the pack. According to Meeker, Google’s ad revenue grew 1.4 times over the past nine quarters and Facebook’s grew 1.9 times, while the combined group of new players that included Amazon and Snapchat grew 2.6 times. Similarly, digital media usage has accelerated with 7% growth in 2018, the usage drivers being the growth of global internet and technology businesses where investment has remained robust.
The time spent on viewing videos globally has doubled in the last one year and according to the report, there are 1.5 billion monthly active users on video platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok. The number of interactive gamers worldwide grew 6% to 2.4 billion people last year, as interactive games such as Fortnite became a hit, reaching a user base of 250 million.
Podcasts have also grown, with roughly 70 million people globally listening to podcasts in the US, a figure that has doubled in about four years.
Also, the user base for voice-based devices like Amazon Echo grew, with Echo’s installation base doubling to 47 million in 2018.
Meeker also points out that seven of the top 10 companies in the world by market capitalization are technology companies, and four of the top six are US-based. These include Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet. Interestingly, 60% of the most highly valued tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants and employed 1.9 million people last year.
The report also pointed out that cloud services revenues of Google, Amazon and Microsoft are collectively closing in on $14 billion in 2018, a jump of about 58% from the previous year.
More data is now stored in the cloud than on private enterprise servers or consumer devices.