More Web 1.0 please
WATBlog has a post today that gives details on the JuxtConsult India online report. Keeping in mind the ET report that I had quoted from yesterday, which stated that the usage of the internet was evenly spread across SEC categories, it is extremely interesting to note that most internet users have Televisions and Mobiles. Hmm, even SEC categories ain’t what they used to be, though that archaic system of classification is exactly that – archaic.
The other interesting point is that around 51% of net users are from the corporate salaried class. Also, quoting from the ET article “The democratisation of the net continues, with higher SECs A and B now accounting for just over 50% of all users, down 6% from last year’s figure of 56%. In contrast, lower SEC C, D and E in urban areas now account for around half of all users. It’s same in rural areas too, with the top two rural SECs R1 and R2 accounting for just 41% with the rest coming in from the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumer in SEC R3, R4 and R5.” Figure that out, so much for even distribution across SECs.
Out of the top 3 uses of the internet, 2 are based on communication. Job search is the only exception. I’ll add one more info from the post before i discuss what I’m getting at. A large number of users have a bank account but only about 1/3rd of those users have a credit card.
While the general complaint is that internet penetration is just not happening, I’m wondering if the net has given enough reason for the average Indian to go online. Before the advent of web 2.0 (whose users, in an Indian context, i consider advanced) the reason for me to get online was convenience – a faster way to communicate, a better way to gather news, and such uses that gave a tangible value add to my life scenario. Web 2.0 is a bit more involved process, whose tangible gains are yet to be correctly worked out. (at least as far as I am concerned)
The average Indian, who relies on India Post and maybe courier companies and now the mobile for communication, on brokers for marriages, on real life friends and relatives for social needs, whose news requirements are adequately met by newspapers, an average Indian who really doesnt need the web. The other entities he interacts with say, a state run bank, a local theatre, book or music store, bus services etc may not be bothered enough to help him take the baby steps on to the internet. IRCTC is perhaps an exception in some respects. To state the obvious, the internet speeds up communication, hence thats the most popular usage. Tangible benefit. See the drift, thats also why only 1/3rd of the banking population has a credit card. They have no use for it.
And so, we get back to the fact that there has been no ‘killer’ application that would force India to get online. And that perhaps is because most of the production and consumption is restricted to the top of the pyramid. And we adopt the net because it is convenient. I still wouldn’t buy groceries online, or order food online, because to me, there is no reliable and convenient method to do it. (Yes, I know about hungrybangalore) I can imagine the mindset of the lesser priveleged sections of the society. So, I won’t even get into the infrastructure costs here, and at the risk of sounding regressive, all I’ll say is Web 2.0 is cool, but can India have some usable web too?
until next time, imagine a billion net junkies 🙂