A billion strong people warming up to get social

These days in India, ordinary auto rickshaw drivers flaunt the latest cell phone, making you cringe and hide your own aging handset.

What started with cell phones is now creeping into the web. India is getting wired and “logging in” with unparalleled gusto.

Statistics, however, are sketchy.

According to AC Nielsen, there are about 50 million Internet users in India, out of which 20 million engage in social networking. Another report by the Internet Government Forum suggest that India has nearly 80 million odd Internet subscribers.

Some claim that by 2013 India will have the third largest Internet penetration in the world. Forrester reckons India’s Internet will grow by 10-20% every year for next 5 years.

Whatever the real number, a billion people are powering the Internet’s growth in India and it is already fascinating to look at comScore’s analysis of social networking in India.

Top Social Networking Sites in India by Unique Visitors(Dec’08-Dec’07)
Total India – Age 15+, Home/Work Locations*

 

Total Unique Visitors (000)

Dec-07

Dec-08

% Change

Total Internet : Total Audience

26,240

32,099

22

Social Networking

12,795

19,369

51

Orkut

7,123

12,869

81

Facebook.com

1,619

4,044

150

Bharatstudent.com

1,736

3,269

88

hi5.com

714

2,012

182

ibibo.Com

1,970

990

-50

MySpace Sites

352

741

110

LinkedIn.com

293

513

75

PerfSpot.com

2,106

433

-79

BIGADDA.com

515

385

-25

 

While Orkut clearly leads the pack, Facebook’s 150 per-cent growth over the last one year is catching up fast. Facebook quizzes like “How well do you know Anand Sharma” have become a national obsession for Indians like Anand Sharma and his friends during office lunch times.

comScore further states that, “Orkut reigned as the most visited social networking site in December 2008 with more than 12.8 million visitors, an increase of 81 percent from the previous year. Orkut’s audience was three times the size of its nearest competitor in the category.

Facebook.com captured the #2 position with 4 million visitors, up 150 percent versus year ago, followed by local social networking site Bharatstudent.com with 3.3 million visitors (up 88 percent) and hi5.com with 2 million visitors (up 182 percent).”

So if we do a study in percentages, one will come to the conclusion that when it comes to India and social networking, all relevant stats are growing at over 100%! Mind boggling isn’t it?

So how do Indians spend their time on social networks? As per a survey done by Universal McCann the India DI team came up with a graphical interpretation of that study

Source- Universal McCann
Source- Universal McCann

      Even  A C Nielsen, observed the following facts  on the usage pattern of the social media websites in India.

   v  Top reasons for using the social networking sites

·          Keeping in touch with people they know:  82 %.

·          Reconnecting with old acquaintances they have lost touch with:  58%

·          Making New friends :   53%

·          Building professional network:      43%

 

v  Time spent on the social media sites

·  Three quarters of Indian respondents have been using social networking  websites for two or more years

·          Two-thirds spend more than half an hour on each session

 

v  Attitude towards using the social networking sites

All had a very positive attitude towards social networking websites.

·         The majority (71 per cent) consider social networking sites to be cool, but that is not to say that face-to-face interaction has become outdated or is on the decline

·         66 per cent believe that social networking sites are no substitute for actual face-to-face meetings with friends

·         43 per cent of respondents even consider it safe to meet people face-to-face whom they have met online

It is safe to predict that Social Media in India is starting to boom and organizations are waking up to its marketing opportunity. China is way ahead, but this gap will be lessening over a very short period of time.