Data is becoming increasingly affordable in India and this in turn has prompted changes in how consumers are making use of the internet, most notably with regard to searches for content in local languages, a leading Google executive has revealed.

Rajan Anandan, VP Google India and South East Asia, told senior figures from the advertising industry at an event last week that most new users now consume content in their local language and that this constituted a major development.

Speaking at the AAAI Subhas Ghosal memorial lecture 2018, he revealed that Google had spotted a 400% increase in Hindi voice searches on the internet over the past 12 months. There also had been a 270% increase in overall voice searches over the same period, Campaign India reported him saying.

Anandan noted that the street price per gigabyte (Gb) of data in India has come down from US$3 to 30 cents, leading to 18x growth in internet consumption and enabling consumers to do more for less on their devices, such as watching videos over messaging. “Data is cheap and video is intuitive,” he said.

“India is at an incredible place when it comes to the digital economy,” he told the advertising delegates, adding that the growth of e-commerce and e-payments would see transactions rise from US$2bn, or two per cent of total retail in 2017, to US$200bn by 2025.

In addition, internet consumption is at such a level that, according to Anandan, Indian consumers now use eight Gb of data per month, meaning that Indians consume more mobile data than in the US and China combined. “The affordable mobile data constraint is solved now,” he said.

Further evidence of India’s rapid emergence as an internet powerhouse came in an interview given by Stephan Neumeier, managing director APAC of Kaspersky Lab, the global cybersecurity firm.

He told Press Trust of India that he expected India to become the top mobile market in the region over the next five to ten years and possibly even in the world.

“Today we have much faster internet speed in bigger cities, connectivity is more or less available everywhere today. With that, consumers will obviously consume data in a much better and faster manner than they used to be,” he said.

Sourced from Campaign India, Press Trust of India; additional content by WARC staff