Omidyar Network’s newest report, Innovating for the Next Half Billion, details how innovators can effectively reach the next wave of Indians coming online via their mobile phones over the next five years.
This projected increase in internet use is the direct result of key trends, including economic progress that helped create a sizable middle class; nearly ubiquitous mobile phone penetration; a rapid decline in data service costs; and increased technological infrastructure, such as Aadhaar and the India Stack. These trends have opened the door for a projected 500 million Indians to access the internet for their first time in the coming years. Called “the next half billion,” these new internet users represent an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs to reach a previously underserved population. In order to so effectively, it is imperative that these innovators better understand the customers they hope to reach.
Using data from our investee Indus OS, Innovating for the Next Half Billion identifies how this population is different from the preceding wave of Indian internet users, including their income profiles, education levels, language skills, and social and cultural milieus. The report also identifies potential solutions, both for bringing the next half billion online and then building the trust and confidence necessary to engage in e-commerce.
We believe that home-grown Indian entrepreneurs are particularly well-positioned to serve the next half billion. They are uniquely able to not only understand the barriers, but address them using local language, frugal innovation, and a deeper appreciation of the social and cultural perceptions that can drive adoption.