India is now world’s third largest Internet user after U.S., China

India has bypassed Japan to become the world’s third largest Internet user after China and the United States, and its users are significantly younger than those of other emerging economies, global digital measurement and analytics firm comScore has said in a report.
India now has nearly 74 million Internet users, a 31 per cent increase over March 2012, the report says.
The numbers are lower than other recent estimates, possibly reflecting comScore’s methodology that only factors in PC and laptop-based Internet usage.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) pegged the number of Internet subscribers in India at 164.81 million as of March 31, 2013, with seven out of eight accessing the Internet from their mobile phones.
The comScore report, on the other hand, puts mobile and tabled-based Internet traffic at just 14% of the total.
“Mobile phone based Internet usage is a key component of Indian Internet usage, and I’d say the recent growth is being driven by mobile Internet usage,” Nilotpal Chakravarti, spokesperson of the Internet and Mobile Association of India told The Hindu on Thursday. In addition, many Netizens were using dongles to access the Internet.
Three-fourths of India’s online population is under 35 as against just over half worldwide, the comScore report, India Digital Future in Focus 2013, says, possibly reflecting India’s more recent improvements in literacy.
Men under 35 and women between 35 and 44 are heavier users. But women account for less than 40 per cent of all Indian users, a far lower sex ratio than that of other countries.
A quarter of time spent online is on social media, the comScore report says, and another 23 per cent on email.
While Google sites have the most unique visitors, Net users spend the most time on Facebook, which is at second place as far as unique visitors are concerned.
Yahoo, Microsoft and Wikimedia sites follow in unique visitor numbers.
Among social media sites, Linkedin and Twitter are the next most popular, while Orkut is in decline. Google is by far the most popular search engine, accounting for 90 per cent of all searches in India.
Online retail is on the rise, with domestic retail sites being the most popular, the report notes. For online travel websites too, domestic websites are the most popular, the Indian Railways’ website being by far the most popular destination. Yahoo is also the most popular site for news.
The locus of online dominance has moved steadily towards Asia, which now accounts for 41% of all Internet users; from having 66% of all users in 1996, the United States now accounts for just 13%.
China has the world’s biggest online presence; Its Internet users outnumber Indians by a ratio of 5: 1. Brazil’s Internet presence grew faster than India’s over the last year.

Facebook plans to roll out online purchase just by using log-in details, could rival PayPal

Facebook is planning to roll out a service that will allow you to make online purchases through your mobile devices just by using your Facebook log-in details. AllThingsD reported that the service would allow any online shopper to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without entering billing information. The shopper however needs to provide credit card information to Facebook. The world’s largest social networking company will simplify online shopping for users. The users do not have to enter their credit card details each time and can shop with just their Facebook log-in details. The product is still to be tested and the testing will begin in the next month or so. According to the report, JackThreads, a shopping site for young men, is the pilot partner and they will conduct the initial testing. If the product is successfully tested it would also potentially give Facebook keen insight into the shopping habits and preferences of the users. This pilot system could give competition to PayPal which pioneers e-commerce right now. Associated Press reported that spokeswoman Tera Randall said in an e-mailed statement that Facebook has a "great relationship with PayPal, and this product is simply to test how we can help our app partners provide a more simple commerce experience." The test, she added, won't involve moving payment processing "away from an app's current payments provider, such as PayPal." If this service does see the light of the day then Facebook would indeed earn big in mobile commerce. It will also help the company collect useful data about its customers.

62 million Indians access Facebook through mobiles

Exponential growth of affordable handsets in India has helped social networking giant Facebook clock 62 million mobile phone users by June 2013 in the world's second most populous country. The California-based firm reported a healthy growth of 5 per cent in its monthly active users (MAUs) in India to 82 million as of June 30, 2013 from 78 million in June 30, 2012. "As of June 30, 2013, 62 million people in India accessed Facebook through their mobile phones. It has 82 million MAUs in India and the firm believes that the next billion users are going to come through mobile," Facebook India Country Growth Manager Kevin D'Souza told PTI. Globally, mobile MAUs rose by 51 per cent to 819 million as of June 30, 2013 from 543 million as of June 30, 2012, the company said while presenting its quarterly results. "In all regions, an increasing number of our MAUs are accessing Facebook through mobile devices, with users in India, Brazil and Indonesia representing key sources of mobile growth over the second quarter of 2013 as compared to the first quarter of 2013," Facebook had said. Mobile MAU is a user who accessed Facebook via a mobile app or via mobile-optimised versions of the website, whether on a mobile phone or tablet during the period of measurement. "Feature phones consists of a large chunk of mobile phone users in India and with low price points these devices are becoming the first Internet connected device many people will own," D'Souza said. Research firm IDC pegged the mobile phone market in India at about 218 million units last year, growing by 16 per cent year-on-year. Of this, 16.3 million units were smartphones. According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), Indian mobile phone market is seeing a spurt in sales, growing 20.8 per cent to 221.6 million handsets in 2012. Feature phones registered a sales growth of 19.9 per cent to 206.4 million in 2012 from 172.2 million in year-ago period. Irrespective of the platform Facebook's focus is towards connecting people whether it's through desktop, laptops, feature phones or smartphones, he added. "Facebook has evolved from a 'mobile first' to 'mobile best' company as it becomes the primary reason for many to access the Internet. Our priority is to ensure that people have access to Facebook regardless of platform or device," he said. Mobile is the perfect platform for Facebook as both were built for connecting, a constant companion that can capture and share moments anywhere, anytime, D'Souza said. Facebook invested in building 'Facebook for Every Phone' app, which delivers Smartphone-like Facebook experience on feature phones. Over 100 million people access the website every month through the app for feature phones, aiding the firm in expanding in developing markets like India

Smartphones outsell basic mobiles for the first time

Gartner said that in the second quarter 225m smartphones were sold, compared with 210m basic handsets, known in industry jargon as feature phones. Smartphones have outsold feature phones in developed economies such as Britain and the United States for almost two years following the boom sparked by the introduction of Apple's iPhone in 2007. Demand for cheaper feature phones in developing economies has kept their sales higher on a global basis until now, however. Google's Android operating system extended its lead as the most popular smartphone software in the second quarter, Gartner said. Some 79pc of smartphones sold were based on it, up from 64.2pc in the same period a year ago. A slew of cheap Android handsets from Chinese brands, some costing less than $100, has helped smartphones overtake feature phones, via growth in developing markets. Apple's iOS software, which runs on the iPhone, accounted for 14.2pc of global sales, down from 18.8pc last year. The company has long been rumoured to have a cheaper version of the iPhone in development to respond to Android's growth at the lower end of the market.

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