Sumeet Singh, SVP - Marketing & Strategic Alliances, Info Edge India Ltd discusses the changes in the Indian internet market and importance of Brand India in an exclusive interaction with IBEF. Edited excerpts:
What are changes you have noticed in the internet space in India?
We clearly know that we have touched over 205 million internet users by November/December last year which is very interesting because we are now very close to the US number and probably by now we have overtaken it. By summer of this year, predictions say that we will be close to 230-240 million internet users which is a very healthy growth. I think what is more interesting is beyond the numbers growing is the increasing usage of internet among the users. There is more content consumption on the internet and people are using internet for more services other than their ticket bookings. For marketers and companies, this is a very interesting trend where one, the number of users is growing and second, the usage and engagement of users is increasing. Mobile a big revolution and soon we will have a lot of internet users who would have accessed the internet only through their smartphones or tablets and not necessarily through their PC.
What are your views on the job growth in India in recent times?
For the last two months, we have seen jobs going up on the site. We can see growth in hiring in the IT industry, which is a very large white collar employment industry. We can also see sectors like oil & gas and pharma growing healthily. Also, sectors like insurance and telecom which had taken a very bad beating about a year back are also showing signs of revival. The growth is still not a double digit growth but it steady in single digits and while we are watching the numbers every day, we bring out the monthly Naukri Jobspeak Index which has been stable for the past two months.
What are the interesting trends in the Indian internet market?
We have multiple portals like Shiksha which is an education portal, Jeevansathi which is a matrimony portal, 99acres which is a real estate portal and of course Naukri. What we have seen overall is that the acceptance of online is growing. So while I think that jobs have completely moved online and supplements are only shrinking day by day and portals are growing becoming the first choice for everybody. I can also see interesting trends in the matrimony market. About five years ago, people didn’t come and tell openly that they have a profile which is posted on a matrimony portal. A lot of users kept online as the last source of finding a suitable match rather than in the first set of sources. Over the last two-three years, the acceptance by parents, a target audience that is not that much online and is not really the youth of today, has grown tremendously. This reflects a socioeconomic trend and I can see acceptance growing in not only in Tier I but also in Tier II and III cities. Online is now one of the top few sources in the matrimony space for finding a suitable match. Overall people are spending more time and people are open to coming online and make it as their set of choices for various services. While ecommerce might not be very large in terms of credit card transactions but the number of orders people are getting are very healthy may be on cash on delivery. It clearly signifies that people are open to using online as a medium and accessing these things. The changes percolates not only in the youth but the smartphone revolution and apps like Whatsapp has got even the slightly older generation on the online medium.
Do you believe Indian talent is powering the global economy?
The fact that there are Indians who are in such senior positions in global corporations today talks of the fact that it is obviously good talent. It is a talent which is respected for what it brings to the table rather than just the skin colour. There are enough companies which are run by Indians and which is very interesting. While fields like tech, science, doctors and even teachers in many countries were dominated by Indians, even management talent now is getting full recognition running global conglomerates. There is respect for Indian talent beyond the IT sector and it is feeding a lot of countries. What is more interesting for me personally is to see a lot of them coming back and starting on their own and actually contributing to job creation. A lot of them have come back with rich experience. We cannot deny that many western countries are far ahead of us in technology but they are getting it back and starting companies here.
What do you think about the rise of Brand India?
We have a lot of MNCs coming here and Indian startups have been recently bought by Google and Facebook. One cannot ignore Brand India any longer. Brand India got a big boost with coming up of the IT industry. Software is where this revolution started. If you look at the entrepreneurial climate and look at the number of people who have come back and started on their own, it is a huge number. Bangalore is full of them. These are vibrant changing times and you cannot really ignore Brand India.
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