For the first time next year, a majority of the population in India will use mobile phones, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of mobile phone, mobile phone internet and smartphone usage around the world. This year’s 10.7% growth in usage has led to 47.0% penetration, or a total mobile phone population in India of 581.1 million people.
By the end of our forecast period, more than three-quarters of a billion people in India will own and use a mobile phone at least once per month.
Smartphone usage is significantly lower: Around one-fifth of mobile phone users in the country will have a smartphone this year, eMarketer estimates. In 2018, that share will still reach only 36.0%.
But smartphones aren’t the only way to access the mobile internet. In 2015, 26.3% of mobile phone users in the country will use a smartphone, but 34.1% will access the mobile internet via phone at least once per month, meaning a substantial number will be using feature phones for access. This means that while many more people in India will be addressable on the mobile internet, they won’t all be reachable with in-app display ads and the like.
eMarketer expects advertisers to spend $32.7 million in 2014 and $58.9 million in 2015 on mobile internet ads, including display and search formats but excluding messaging-based ads. By 2018, that figure will rise to $280.1 million.
eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.
In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.