Online India gripped by FOMO

1 October 2014

MUMBAI: Online Indians are heavy internet users who live with a fear of missing out (FOMO) when not connected, a new study has revealed.

Tata Communications conducted an online survey of 9,417 respondents across six countries – India, Singapore, UK, USA, Germany and France – aimed at capturing behavioural, technical and philosophical responses in relation to people's associations, understanding and emotional connections to the internet.

Almost of half (46%) of Indian respondents spent six hours or more a day actively using the internet, compared to a global average of 29%. And more than half (56%) said they could not survive more than five hours without internet connectivity.

Such heavy internet usage resulted in fully 82% of Indians admitting to a fear of missing out, the highest percentage of any country surveyed. Indian men typically spent more time online than women, but it was the women who ended up feeling more anxious when not connected – 21% v 16%.

In general, Asian respondents appeared to be the most internet dependent. Less than half of Singaporeans and Indians were capable of lasting up to 12 hours without internet access compared to 86% of German, 77% of French, 75% of US and 70% of UK respondents.

That enthusiasm for the online life was also reflected in the changing attitudes towards television, with smartphones and tablets rapidly becoming the preferred screen. Nearly twice as many Indians (43%) were willing to give up television for the internet as were Americans (17%) and Europeans (22%).

When asked what was the main benefit of the internet to society, three quarters of Indians cited its ability to 'connect people globally with incredible speed', far ahead of other options that brands might have preferred, such as 'enabling e-commerce' (4%) or 'making shopping easier' (3%).

Further differences between Asia and the US/Europe emerged when considering the most inspirational opportunity that the internet will deliver in the future: 32% of Singaporeans and 27% of Indians picked smart cities as their preferred choice; Europeans and Americans opted for light speed connectivity.

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff