Adoption of Mobile Apps in Rural India


Bharat is getting online faster than India” .The ever growing rural market of India has seen increase in adoption of mobile phones from 22% to 38% in last couple of years. India has close to 750 million mobile internet users out of which 350 million are from rural India. Hence with the increase of the adoption of the mobile phones, comes the demand for the mobile apps.

Still at the nascent stage though but people in rural India have started upgrading their featured phones to smart phones for very basic requirements like watching latest regional movies, listening to music, online shopping, get local weather updates etc. Companies like Jivi, Ziox, Swipe are tapping such markets and slowly increasing their market share. Also the consumption of mobile video content is many folds higher in Tier2 and Tier3 cities than the Urban India.

Also with the evolution of multi lingual mobile applications/keyboard applications life has become easy for the non-English speaking rural Indians to get engaged with their smartphones. Beneath are some of the sectors where mobile apps have hugely accepted by rural Indians

  • Agriculture: Agricultural mobile apps have been a huge hit among the rural Indians. Weather informations, Soil quality, Crop advise and other such key and fundamental information’s made through such apps have been well accepted by the farmers
  • Education: With very limited scope and options in the education sector many bright students in rural India were behind the competition compared to their urban counterparts. However now with the rise of educational mobile apps pupil can download various informative videos, attend various live webinars, solve intellectual puzzles etc. and thus give themselves the equal chance to stay ahead in the competition.
  • Entertainment: With persistent power cuts in the rural areas, downloaded content like soap operas, movies, videos, music has become the alternate source of entertainment. Hence Video streaming applications, gaming applications have become very popular among the rural Indians
  • E-Commerce: Post demonetization of the higher denomination currency notes in the country, rural people have become more adoptive to E-commerce mobile apps. Thus companies are specifically targeting those populations by specially developing mobile applications for them.

Mobile apps are also acting as platform for the social and behavioral change among the rural populations. There are apps helping rural married women understanding various contraceptive choices, apps streaming various videos about family planning, apps showing videos on how to maintain a hygienic life style etc. In coastal India, fishermen are using mobile apps to understand the sea behavior, wave heights, wind speed, weather forecast  etc. which helps them in deciding whether to go out for fishing or not.

Thus evolution of mobile apps has largely affected almost every aspects of rural development and will continue to bring in the change among the rural population.

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