Smartphone usage continues an upward spiral, jumps 29% over the previous quarter

The latest Smartphones Usage and Behaviour report from Kantar IMRB & MMA shows that mobile internet usage jumped by 29% in the period Oct-Dec 2016 over the previous quarter. The strong gains were driven by a number of industry factors like the launch of 4G services prompting a string of low-priced data offers and the impact of demonetization. The average time spent on smartphones daily is now equivalent to the time spent by TV consumers in an entire week demonstrating that the engagement levels provided by smartphones are unparalleled.

Hemant Mehta, Managing Director, Media & Digital, Kantar IMRB, said, ‘’If ever there was a need to showcase an example of how Indian consumers respond when they see value in a product or service, the mobile usage behavior in the last quarter of 2016 would be the best case. The entry of Jio with its free 4G data offer redefined the mobile landscape by triggering an increase in data usage amongst consumers and also led to a fundamental restructuring of the telecom industry. Another factor which significantly altered the behavior was demonetization which drove consumers to seek newer digital payment platforms. For instance, Paytm, registered a 10% increase in reach, and also became one of the Top-10 mobile properties. However, the bigger learning here is that the consumer behaviour and relationships with brands can alter quickly if there is an external trigger (like demonetization) or a new offering demonstrates the real value that it brings to the consumers. In my mind, therefore, besides constantly adding and demonstrating the value that their products and brands provide to the consumers, marketers will also have to be agile to respond to emerging market realities.’’

Here’s a look at the key insights on the Smartphone usage & how it is reflected in the consumer behaviour:

  • Smartphone data usage up 29%-The launch of 4G services prompted a string of low-priced dataoffersfrom incumbent players as they fought migration of consumers away from their networks. The availability of free/low priced mobile data offers led to a sharp increase in data usage during the quarter.
  • Impact of Demonetisation-The reach of finance properties grew by whopping 86% compared to the previous quarter.
  • Most Engaged Categories-

o    Search, Social, Messaging as a category was the topmost engaged. The average time spent on Search, Social and Messaging platforms grew by more than 50% no doubt helped by the lower cost of data and the addition of new data subscribers (~28 million)

o    While Women spent nearly 1.3x more time on online shopping portals as compared to Men; it was Entertainment that toppled Shopping to become the second-most engaged category in this quarter. Users transitioned from offline/downloaded content to online video streaming as demonstrated by 2 of the Top 5 apps being video streaming services.


o    News and Media pippedGaming to grab a position in the Top-5 list.News aggregators displayed a unique ability to attract audiences from different socio-economic backgrounds

Preeti Desai, Country Manager, Mobile Marketing Association India, noted ‘’Media companies and publishers will have to completely re-engineer their offerings for the Mobile First world as average daily time spent on Mobile (Smartphones) equals to the average weekly time spent on TV as per the–Kantar IMRB and MMASmartphone report (Oct-Dec 2016). The huge jump in mobile usage is not only propelled by free data plans but demonetization policy also is a significant contributor in driving News & Media in the Top 5. Mobile is clearly the third largest mass medium in terms of Ad spends in India today, with estimated spends in 2016 amounting to ₹. 4,200 Cr increasing to an estimated spends of ₹. 6643 Cr in 2017. This explosive data usage has created humongous opportunities for marketers and this year we will see explosive growth into video, native ads and branded content as consumers gravitate towards timely content plus content with a personality.’’

TheSmartphones Usage and Behaviour report from Kantar IMRB & MMA enables all members of the ecosystem to stay updated with consumer mobile trends and media consumption habits. Also at the same time, it elaborates the role of mobile as an influencer in the consumer’s path-to-purchase. 

Editorial notes:

  1. Kantar IMRB & MMA Smartphone Usage and Behaviour Report Overview – India
  2. Infographics- Smartphone Usage & Time spent

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