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India – A paradise in offing for western marketers:

The scale of online business development in India is in no way a great achievement in a country with a 1 billion population – but combined they make India an attractive market for global marketers – with 44 million mobile phone subscribers, an active travel sector and online advertising spend exceeding 18 million dollars.

10 million mobile subscribers grows to 43.9 million

In January 2003, two years before, India had just 10 million mobile subscribers. Every month, India adds another 1.5 million mobile subscribers to the 28 million mobile phone users registered last December. Subscribers grew by 1.4 million to 44.9 million last month, overtaking the 43.9 million registered land line users, TRAI said.

Revenues from the Indian cellular services market will reach $24 billion by the end of 2009, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35.6 percent, according to a study released Wednesday by the research firm Gartner.

Online stock trading growth 150% P.A to over Rs.700 Cr in 2 years

There has been a massive rise in the number of internet traders. At the end of July 2005, there were 108 registered brokers on the NSE, and about 1.054 million Internet trading subscribers. Industry experts believe that online trading will take off in a big way in the years to come.

Online Websites with Travel packages to Europe, USA, Canada and Australia

In India as elsewhere, the travel websites are the first as an industry to call the attention of net users and sell them travel packages online or select online and purchase offline.

More and more net users planning to travel abroad are turning to the internet. They get much more information to study, plan and re-plan their destinations and packages, Indians with higher disposable income and low air fare are readily willing to buy travel packages online.

This move towards online commerce is an opportunity for small and medium western online travel marketers to position themselves prominently among Indian net users and win their confidence. No matter if you choose to start a small with limited number of packages but it must be well planned and positioned. Normally it’s difficult to retain travel customers as they always look for new packages and destinations. But Indians, having no adequate knowledge about traveling abroad, place their reliance on the word of mouth from their relatives and friends and in most cases they follow the package plan recommended to them. With a small dose of incentive, such schemes can be highly successful and opens gateways for other hospitality products and services.

Companies with strategic tie-ups to provide package from port of embarkation
to each destination are sure to win confidence and goodwill for repeat patronage.

Last year nearly 6 millions traveled abroad and this year it is likely to exceed10 million.

Online Advertising & Marketing

The total spending for 2004-2005 was about 18 million dollars, but a reputed indian online association predicts this will touch 34 million dollars in the next financial year and will exceed 57 million in 2006-2007. According to a study by MSN it’s reboot time for Indian advertising with predictions that the online segment is likely to cross the 100 million dollar mark by 2010.

The internet is increasingly a part of the media mix for advertisers as they realise its high potential in reach and penetration The growth over the past three to four years has been good and the growth is pegged at 50 per cent a year for at least three years in a row.

Marketing pundits say that the advertising agencies should explore multiple ways to engage and involve consumers. Digital media is the future. New media vehicles will play an increasingly important role in consumers’ lives; therefore, brand marketers would lose out if they do not leverage the emerging media options.

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Sushil Deorah

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