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REUTERS/DANISH SIDDIQUI
INDIAN SMARTPHONE USER

How Indians prefer their internet: genuine content, mobile-first, and short-video

By Sangeeta Tanwar

Smartphone users in India are increasingly concerned about the growing menace of fake news.

Fabricated news on social media platforms, particularly WhatsApp, is the top concern of around two-thirds of smartphone users in the country. As a result, many consumers prefer professionally-generated content, from  genuine sources like media companies, over usergenerated content on apps like Tik Tok, according to a report by Zinnov, a Bengaluru-based management and strategy consulting firm.

To address the fake news challenge, “online content platforms like TikTok and Glance have started leveraging technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), to identify inappropriate content and remove it from their platform,” said Zinnov in the report published on Oct. 1.

The report, based on a survey of over 500 users across 15 cities, also captures India’s rapid rise as a mobile-first country and the evolving patterns of its internet users.

The rise of the mobile phone

Over 97% of total internet consumption in India is through mobile phones, which is the go-to device to meet day-to-day needs like gathering information, news, food, travel and shopping. In fact, mobile is a preferred platform to watch content even in tier-3 cities, a sign of deep internet penetration.

Also, a majority of consumers love watching shorter-duration video content, rather than text-based content.

Nearly, 70% of the users across tier-1, -2, and -3 cities also prefer watching content in their regional-language over Hindi or English, according to Zinnov.

Further, cheaper internet-powered mobile phones are fast resulting in the use of the device for shopping across income groups.

A smartphone user’s life

Over 80% of the respondents surveyed by Zinnov reported checking their devices as soon as they wake up. The reasons for logging into mobile phones early range from checking updates on social media to going through emails or analysing sleep patterns through smartphone-based sleep tracker apps, said the report.

Between 6am and 9am, most users (85%) use their smartphones to check emails and social media updates. From 9am to 12 noon, 70% of people use their device to browse the news.

Smartphone usage through the day
PurposeTime of the day
Binge watch content during commute4PM-7PM
Watch music, engaged with food ordering apps12PM-4PM
Access food, grocery and educational apps7PM-10PM
Use over-the-top app to watch movies, TV showsLate night
Source: Zinnov