India Second Biggest Internet Consumer: Good News for ACE Industry?

  • Amazon’s Echo Show 5 is perfect example for other smart device makers
  • Making smart devices affordable should be the focus as internet as already affordable
Pic Source – iStockphotos

Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report says that India is the second largest consumer of internet in India. Out of the total 3.8 billion internet users, our country accounts for a staggering 12 per cent of total internet users in the world. Calculated roughly, the figure comes out to be close to 31 Crore or 310 million users, off course an individual can be using internet on multiple devices.

So, does this mean something for consumer electronics companies? This question gets more interesting when we consider that home appliances as basic as ceiling fans and LED lights are now getting smart and voice activated. Here are some probable answers.

Scope for more connected devices

The first and foremost opportunity that rising internet penetration levels in India point towards, is the opportunity of introducing more and more smart devices. Considering the fact that smart TV sales have overtaken normal TV sales in India, is a sheer proof of the fact that if the advantages of a smart product over a normal one, are marketed and educated clearly, the former segment has more scope than the latter.

Not to forget that internet prices are way affordable than most of the other countries in the world. An unlimited good speed wi-fi connection costs nothing more than Rs 1,000/per month ($13 roughly). Cherry on the cake – all the family members can use the same connection. What this might mean for the consumer electronics industry is the fact that they may not have to worry about consumers not wanting to spend on internet costs, but on making smart devices affordable!

Jaipal Singh, assistant research manager, IDC sharing his thoughts on the connected home devices market told Electronics For You, “Consumer habits while choosing consumer electronics are definitely changing. More people are trying smart and connected devices now. While the biggest example of this is smart TVs, the sales of smart speakers is also picking up pace in India.”

Jaipal also mentioned that with arrival of services like 5G and fibre net the market of connected smart appliances will get a boast. He said, “The price of these upcoming services will be a major deciding factor for the future of such devices. With Reliance Jio coming in, the prices of 5G services will most probably affordable like the 4G packs.”

Amazon’s affordable Echo Show 5

Amazon Echo Show 5 (Pic Credits – Amazon India)

Another point in case is Amazon. Being one of the biggest retail and technology giants in the world, it recently introduced a new device in the Echo range. Dubbed Echo Show 5, this new combination of smart screen and smart speaker looks like a toned-down version of Amazon’s Echo Show. The prices off course are also way affordable than Echo Show.

A close look at the Amazon Echo Show 5’s price tag of Rs 8,999, then comparing the same with Amazon Echo Show’s price tag of Rs 22,999, seems as if the USA based company has designed Echo Show 5 keeping countries like India in mind. Is it possible that Amazon would not have given weight-age to rising internet penetration and smartphone users in India? Highly unlikely, as India now has more internet users that Amazon’s home country!

Parag Gupta, head of Amazon Devices, India, during the launch of Echo Show 5 said, “Customers love the screen complementing Alexa on the Echo Show. The Echo Show 5 now makes it easier and more affordable to have a smart display in every home. The new form factor is perfect for a bedside table, living room side table or desk, plus it has a camera shutter for added peace of mind, and new Alexa privacy features for even more control.”

Home automation looks bright

The positive effects of embedding IoT aka smart features into consumer electronics are not merely limited to products like smart speakers, TVs, ceiling fans etc. These benefits are also evidently seen in verticals like electrical switches and home automation.

Players like Crabtree and Goldmedal Electricals have already introduced electrical switches that are also smart and obey to voice commands as well. The scope for such smart electrical switches in the market can also be explained by quoting that Crabtree has opened an experience zone just for its smart switches in Punjab. Goldmedal Electricals says it has 300 such stores in India.

Another interesting development in the vertical is entry of USA based Hogar Controls in India. Karan Kumar, founder Hogar, has around 16 years of experience in R&D and Product Engineering. Having worked with biggies like Nokia Siemens, Ericsson, Uninor, Vodafone and Huawei, Karan would have calculated everything before entering the market in India.

Do you think Karan would have taken in account the rising internet penetration in India while deciding to launch Hoger Control’s operations in India? We think he would have!

Ground Zero

No matter how equipped and modern one’s R&D and testing teams are, the ground zero testing phase takes place once a product hits the markets. And what better country than India to mass test smart devices!

To cement this statement, we must add that Xiaomi, one of the consumer electronics companies that are giving experienced and established consumer electronics companies a run for their money, had India as one of its primary markets. Similarly, Skyworth, has also started making news in India recently.

Both Xiaomi and Skyworth are also expanding their connected products base in India. Xiaomi forayed into the smart TV market last year. As per reports by IDC, it is already a leader in the segment right now. In fact, Xiaomi has also started retailing its smart LED bulbs in India and it also operates an app which people in India can use to order products that are only available in China.

Can India be seen as a testing ground for IOT embedded consumer electronics companies like Xiaomi and Skyworth? Jaipal Singh answers, “While not all smart devices can be tested in India, a lot of them definitely can be. The advantage that India gives to smart consumer electronics brands is the ability to test affordable smart devices. India may not be a big spender like USA, but it definitely has the largest population and now the second largest internet user base, something that almost every smart consumer electronics brand will love.”

Clubbing ‘Make in India’ and India’s rising internet user base, the IoT embedded consumer electronics companies may just strike gold here. As mentioned earlier, we have already overtaken USA in terms of internet user base and the only country we lag behind is China!

Author – Mukul Yudhveer Singh. An avid reader, Mukul finds peace in books and technology. He’s as passionate about writing as he is about playing cricket and hitting the gym. If not writing or reading, you will most likely find him drawing tattoo designs or analyzing political campaigns.