Internet not happening in India? Think Twice

Internet in India – Stories from irctc tickets and share trading and why Indian netizens need pain killers (and not vitamins)

A general sentiment about Indian Internet market is that owing to dismal Internet penetration, things just aren’t happening. The TAM (total addressable market) is too less to allow multiple business categories and of course, multiple players.

But then – here are two stories that questions the above sentiment-

IRCTC website sells 1/3rd of the total railway tickets sold in India

IRCTC, as we have been covering sells 34% of the total railway ticket sold in India. In 2008-09, of the 860,000 or so tickets sold everyday, around 200,000 ( above 25 per cent) were sold online (IRCTC accounted for 17% of the total passenger earnings of the Railways in 2008-09). As per July 2009 numbers, IRCTC sold 300,000 tickets every day (total number of tickets sold per day was 880,000).

Retail Investors Embracing Online Trading Platform

One out of three trades on the NSE and a fourth of the exchange’s average daily turnover today originates from retail Internet trading platforms. (source)

Apart from increased awareness/interest among the retail crowd and penetration across new user segment (youth), availability of Internet, broadband penetration and hassle-free trading have enabled customers to embrace the Internet platform.

Is Internet still not happening in India?

I keep meeting whole lot of people (startups/VCs) who have taken a stand that Internet is still not happening in India and given the lower penetration number, things do not look so rosy (especially from investment perspective).

While one can argue on either side, what’s clear is that Indian netizens need pain killer at this point in time – vitamins are for the MySpace generation (ref: Vitamins or Pain Killer? What exactly are you solving?) and can probably wait.

The basic premise here is that Internet businesses can be built targeting Indian netizens – as long as you keep the pain factor in mind.

So ‘happening’ or ‘not happening’, there are categories/companies which are minting money – so think of your business plan and see if you are really solving a pain.

What’s your opinion?

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