Over the past 25 years, the world has changed at an unprecedented rate.
With the invention of the internet and rapid progress in digital electronics, the world is more connected than ever before. The impact of the digital revolution is so immediate and so intense that we may never live long enough to truly grasp the scope of its impact.
Internet has changed general human behaviour as we know, it has also given birth to a unique, highly informed society.
Home to one of the largest and youngest populations in the world, India has been in the front and center of the digital revolution.
With an increasing smartphone using population, young people in India are a powerful consumer group, driving the market with their behavior, preferences and peculiarities.
This is something that the government of India has not missed. Over the years, the Indian government has made an effort, through various policies and digital innovations, to be more connected with this young, internet literate population.
This interplay of government reforms and young people’s lifestyle choices have been ingredients in India’s fascinating digital journey. One that sees India at the forefront of the world’s digital revolution.
Let’s look at four interesting developments that cement India’s place at the top of the digital food chain:
1.Progressive Government Initiatives
India, with its giant population, has more smartphone users than the entire population of America.
India is also one of the largest consumers of data in the world, increasing from 0.2 GB a month to 11GB a month in the last few years.
This, combined with a phenomenal decrease in the price of data, from Rs. 269 per GB to Rs. 19 per GB in the same time frame, has ensured that the fruit of the digital highway reaches every segment of the population, from urban elites to village populations and also all age groups.
The government has made efforts to capitalize on this unprecedented connectedness, introducing unique digital identification numbers for all Indian citizens, under the Aadhar scheme.
Though it has attracted criticism from advocates for privacy, the sheer scale of the initiative is huge, covering 99% of Indian adults.
The government has linked this system with bank accounts and mobile numbers, resulting in the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-mobile phone) trinity.
This is an unprecedented step, building the architecture for Indians to access multiple benefits. India also introduced The Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payment Interface (BHIM-UPI), under which clocked in over 600 million transactions in January 2019 alone.
With the government also moving various offline financial operations to the internet, it is providing reliable government infrastructure digitally, ensuring the young internet savvy population of India can interact with it.
This policy of digital integration by the government has encouraged young businessmen to leverage it, which brings us to the next point:
2.The Growing Startup Ecosystem
It’s not possible to discuss Digital India without touching upon India’s growing startup ecosystem.
With a young, tech savvy population comes a unique set of customer behaviors and expectations, and India has evolved quickly to produce a startup ecosystem that focuses on solving problems of the Indian millennial especially.
Driving cost-effective innovations in the areas of retail brokering, e-commerce, food delivery and ride-hailing, India’s startups occupy a unique place in the world’s economy.
India’s population, unique in its sensibilities and behavior, has forced companies to adapt rapidly and develop a unique knack for customer-centric innovations.
Food delivery startups like Swiggy and e-commerce startups like Flipkart are prime examples of this unique style of Indian entrepreneurship, having built customer bases consisting of millions of people who have taken to app-centric solutions like ducks to water.
For them to achieve this, it is important they grasp the unique preferences of the price-centric Indian market. With solutions that cater to this unique identity, they are blazing trails in the digital revolution.
3.Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
India houses one of the largest mobile manufacturing factories in the world.
Indian mobile plants servicing the new, tech savvy Indian consumer have increased from two in 2014 to 127 in 2019. Annually, over 225 million mobile phones are domestically produced.
This rapidly growing sector has created about 4,00,000 jobs during the last five years.
Similarly, personal vehicle ownership continues to rise, along with the usage of shared taxis.
Uber made a big splash in the Indian transportation market with their high profile entry and rapid growth, but Indian companies are not far behind, with companies like Ola and Meru also carving lanes for themselves in the market.
This has led to over 1.5 million jobs being created in the shared cab industry. This is only one example of the numerous rapidly growing work ecosystem.
In the early stages of the digital revolution, it was mostly the urban elites who benefited from the fruits of digital entrepreneurship. However, with increased connectivity and the proliferation of smartphones, these benefits are finally reaching tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
In addition to transforming the lives of consumers in these areas, the digital revolution has also created many jobs, with India’s biggest cab aggregators running successfully in close to 170 cities and towns across the nation.
Digital Wallet: A Boon
Let me ask you a question.
How many of you carry around money like you used to say, 5 or 6 years ago? Not many.
Today, with the advent of e-wallets, the process of buying a commodity or service has become much easier. What’s best is you don’t even need to follow a long procedure to open an account.
What’s more is that it’s easily accessible to people living in remote places as well!
In a fast-paced life such as our’s, digital wallet is definitely a boon!
How Does it Impact Investing?
Today, most people prefer buying clother, groceries and sometimes even cars online.
So why should investing be left behind?
The investing industry in India has progressed immeasurably in the past couple of years. Today investing has also become digital.
Gone are the days when you would have to fill up pages and pages of paperwork. Apps like Groww bring to you an experience through which you can shop for mutual funds!
But we still have a long way to go.
By India revolutionizing digitally, industries like stocks, mutual funds and other securities will become more accessible to the masses. It will not be a concept reserved for the urban folks only.
Imagine today, even I hail from a small village, just by a few taps on my phone, I can invest in companies that are market leaders
Hence, a leap towards digital economy is definitely a boost for the industry!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are that of the author and not those of Grow