Home A Five-Year Update: The State of the Web in India

A Five-Year Update: The State of the Web in India

Since this 2006 article on RWW about the Top Web Apps in India, a lot has happened in the Indian web industry. Some new entrants have made a mark for themselves and some existing ones have strengthened their market positions, while still others got lost somewhere in between. We take a homegrown look at the changes in India during the past five years.

Shilpi Choudhury is a marketer at DiscountPandit, an Indian startup focusing on daily deal search and product price comparison. She blogs on topics related to startups, entrepreneurship, e-commerce and the daily deal industry.

First, some quick stats. According to a report, Internet in India 2011, published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) as well as a short video published by Nielsen:

  • There are currently 112 million Internet users (88 million urban dwellers, and 24 million more from rural villages) in India, out of which 90 million are active users;
  • 240 million Indians accessed the Internet on their mobile phones last year;
  • 20 million Indians look for job openings on the Internet every month;
  • 54 million Indians check online reviews for the products they wish to purchase, out of which 15 million do so only on social media sites;
  • Young users continue to drive Internet usage in India;
  • Internet usage in smaller towns continues to dominate over the top eight cities, with a combined usage of more than 60%.

In this fast-changing Indian Web ecosystem, here are 10 Indian Web apps that have been successful in capturing the popular imagination:

  • Flipkart: Founded in 2007, Flipkart started its journey by selling books online. Today, with 11.5 million book titles, 11 different categories – including movies, music, games, mobiles, cameras, computers, health care and personal products, home appliances, and electronics – and with more than 2 million registered users and sales of 30,000 items a day, Flipkart can easily be considered a trendsetter for e-commerce in India. Recently, the company introduced a digital music store, along the lines of iTunes, called Flyte.
  • Redbus: Started in 2006, Redbus is a first-of-its-kind online travel portal, concentrating on bus ticket reservations. Through Redbus, users can book bus tickets online for more than 10,000 routes across India. They even allow bookings over interactive voice response through their call centers.
  • Snapdeal: Started in 2008, Snapdeal is often hailed as the Groupon of India, but with a difference. The business had its origins in selling coupon books, discount cards, mobile coupons, etc. It was only in 2010 that they moved into a Groupon-like model and entered the online daily deal space. However, unlike Groupon, group buying is not mandatory in Snapdeal; deals are valid even if only one person buys it. With more than 10 million subscribers, more than 10,000 merchant partnerships and deals in more than 50 Indian cities, it is among the 30 most-visited websites in India. Recently, Snapdeal has ventured into selling products, as well.
  • Paytm: Launched in 2011, Paytm is an online recharge service for mobile, direct-to-home satellite TV and data cards. Though there are other recharge services in India, what distinguishes it from the crowd is its simple user interface, which aids in easy recharge. The application had more than 1 million registered users as of November 2011.
  • Zomato: A restaurant and lifestyle portal launched in 2008, the app is primarily noted for its restaurant guide, which features more than 18,000 restaurants from 10 major cities in India and is populated by user-generated reviews. The application also has an event section that provides ticket sales for local events.
  • JustDial: This service started operations way back in 1996, but the app in its present form was launched in 2007. It offers local search services across multiple platforms – Internet, mobile, call center and SMS text. According to JustDial’s statistics, it has a database of approximately 7 million listings and has addressed more than 250 million search queries.
  • BookMyShow: Launched in 2006, BookMyShow is India’s largest entertainment ticketing website. With ticketing for more than 850 screens across 87 cities, 75% of all cinema tickets sold online in India are booked on BookMyShow. In addition, BookMyShow has ticketed for several concerts, plays, live events, stand-up acts and sports events.
  • Slideshare: Launched in 2006, SlideShare is a true Web 2.0 product that supports the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million page views, it is among the 200 most-visited websites in the world, according to Web analytics company Alexa. It also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars. On May 3, it was acquired by LinkedIn.
  • Shaadi.com: An old-timer (started in 1996), Shaadi.com is India’s leading matrimonial site; it claims to have helped about 20 million Indians find their partners. Its services are also available to Indians living abroad.
  • Naukri: Another old-timer (launched in 1997), Naukri.com is India’s leading job portal. As of March 2009, it had a database of about 17 million registered job seekers, and more than 70,000 live job listings from corporate customers.

This list is in no way all-inclusive, but these Web apps definitely have top-of-the-mind brand recall in India. There are several others that have made their valuable contributions to the Web industry in India; please feel free to add your choices in the comments section. 

Disclaimer: DiscountPandit aggregates deals from Snapdeal and Flipkart.

Photo by Croupier7.

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