Megatrends to reshape India

25 October 2011

NEW DELHI: Urbanisation, a growing working age population and the rise of smartphones are all "megatrends" that will reshape India in the next decade, Frost & Sullivan, the research firm, has argued.

According to the firm, one shift likely to exert a major impact on the country is the increasing number of "mega cities" containing at least 8m people and contributing $250bn to domestic GDP.

While 13 metropolitan centres currently fit such a description, this figure should hit 25 by 2025. Some 38% of India's citizens, or 535m people, and 70% of GDP will be accounted for by urban areas in 2030.

Additionally, four "mega regions" are set to emerge by 2025, each housing over 15m residents. The top five states in India may also deliver more than 45.7% of Indian GDP by 2020.

Another development that will have huge knock-on benefits for India is the growth in its working age population of 15-64 years old. This group is due to expand by 119m people by 2020, the biggest increase on this measure worldwide.

In keeping with such shifts, Frost & Sullivan argued the advent of an increasingly "connected world" in India could yield sizeable opportunities for companies in various industries.

Overall, 1.5bn connected appliances should be active in India by 2020, from mobile phones to machine-to-machine systems, with this latter category featuring technology like services automatically replenishing product orders or updating digital billboards.

More specifically, the amount of pay-TV households should reach 166m by 2015 and 190m by 2020. Broadband subscription rates are also due to rise from 10.3m in 2010 to 100m by 2014.

Similarly, the potential smartphone audience is pegged at 101m people for 2015, a fourfold lift on the 2010 total. The tablet user base is also projected to stand at 65m in 2015.

Broader possibilities are presented by the healthcare sector, anticipated to be worth $276bn in 2020, versus $50bn in 2011, aided by "medical tourism" and the roll out of digital platforms.

Further trends identified by the study included India's appeal as a hub for launching satellites on behalf of international customers, and the evolution of a new "tech-savvy" generation of young political leaders.

Anand Rangachary, of Frost & Sullivan, said: "As India is on the threshold of emerging as the world's second-fastest growing economy, megatrends can help companies harness this potential to be more proactive and innovative in their growth strategies."

Data sourced from Frost & Sullivan; additional content by Warc staff