Bangalore: The influence of internet on society and commerce in India is enormous, clear and continuously growing. As per a recent study by McKinsey & Co, the Internet has a potential to contribute $100 billion to India’s gross domestic product by 2015, which was nearly $30 billion in 2011, with its exponential growth. To measure the influence created by internet seems difficult, however it is visible and it is easy to measure indices like online sales.
At present just about 10 percent of the population in India uses the internet, which is estimated as 120 million people. The McKinsey report projects India will overtake the U.S. by 2015 and become the country with second highest number of internet users after China.
Currently over 2 billion people use the internet, worldwide. The internet’s contribution to world economy in 2010 was $1.7 trillion, which is approximately the present size of India’s economy.It is speculated in the report that the increasing number of people who will use the internet in India by 2015, will mostly access it on their mobile devices, such as cellular phones and tablet computers. The report said, “three out of four users from India will be mobile-only users.” The hike in the number of internet users could possibly create 22 million jobs by 2015, which is 6 million currently, informed the report.
Anu Madgavkar from McKinsey Global Institute informs that for the internet growth to occur telecom operators must come up with high-speed internet networks and the government must extend the national broadband network. The broadband universal service or otherwise known as universal broadband service is a government plan to ensure all citizens in a given nation have access to Internet services, which isn’t available in India at present. The internet should be made available in variety of Indian languages with more content.
Madgavkar also said that another factor that can amplify the internet user base is lowering the prices on cell phones and tablet computers.
The report informed that the number of internet users could amount to 500 million people in 2015. However this greatly depends on how fast internet is transmitted to smaller cities and rural areas. The report says that at present this is very unlikely to happen. It said “Even by 2015, with overall internet penetration likely to reach 28 percent rural penetration is likely to be just 9 percent,” as reported by Wall Street Journal.
The job opportunities that could come is majorly from e-commerce and from the sectors like logistics that support online shopping websites, especially the ones which count heavily on courier companies to deliver their packages and services.
The report informed that currently India’s information and communication technology exports are the major element of the internet’s impact on GDP but private consumption and investment from the private and public sector have higher potential to grow in the future.
On an average, in a month Indians spend over 20 to 25 hours online which also includes shopping online. However these figures are much below than the South Asian nations like Vietnam, where an average time spent online is 96 hours in a month and in Singapore it has been estimated to be 81 hours in a month.
The consulting firm McKinsey claims that with the current contribution of the internet to India’s GDP has placed India in line with most aspiring countries for growth and development. India can grow to the speculated target on $100 billion provided it achieves its potential for growth with the increase in the number of users, consumption related to internet technology and over the period investment.