HT-MaRs smartphone user survey: A nation married to the mobile

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2016 18:10 IST
The HT-MaRS Smart Phone survey was carried out in the six major metros Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. (Shutterstock)

There is a good chance you are reading this on a mobile phone.

Now take your eyes off this riveting copy and look around. What do you see?

People are peering into their phones while travelling in trains, cars, autorikshaws, strolling in shopping malls, having a meal with family or friends (it’s common to find everyone around a table looking at their phones, not at one another), at tea shops, while crossing the road, and, of course, at work.

India now has 220 million smartphone users. (Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times)

A large number of those phones are smartphones, with large touch screens and internet.

The part about the internet is especially significant. Unlike many countries in the West, such as the United States, and Far East, such as Japan, most Indians are embracing the internet on the mobile, not PC. The country has 371 million mobile internet users; the first six months of this year added 65 million, says Internet & Mobile Association of India.

Surveys say India now has more smartphone owners – 220 million -- than the United States. Other surveys say people tend to get depressed if they do not get to see their phone for some time. When they are on the phone, they live in it: working, shopping, calling a cab, looking for directions, socialising, reading, laughing, crying, falling in love, and breaking up.

According to Morgan Stanley, e-commerce was 0.2% of India’s GDP in 2010. It has now grown to 1.2%, and may touch 4% by 2020. Google for the size of our GDP and you will find your eyes widening. A lot of it is done on the mobile. For some services, such as hailing a cab, there is nothing like an app.

(File) A man watches India vs Australia cricket world cup semi final match on his smartphone while on his way to work on a train, in Kolkata, on March 26, 2015. (Prateek Choudhury/ Hindustan Times)

The Hindustan Times therefore felt compelled to commission research agency MaRS to look at how immersed people are in their mobile phones, and how it has changed the way we work, shop, travel, socialise, make payments, and in lead our lives in general.

The findings of the survey will keep you hooked for days to come. Five, to be precise. We will give you a treasure trove of data and bouquet of stories starting with, on Monday, how the mobile phone and apps have taken over our lives. It will be e-commerce on Tuesday, social media on Wednesday, mobile wallet on Thursday, and cab and food services on Friday.

As mentioned in the beginning, chances are a lot of you would be tucking in on your mobile. Therefore, it was easy to come up with a name for this study. We are nothing if not a Smartphone Nation.


The HT-MaRS Smart Phone survey was carried out in the six major metros Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. The sample size was 2,000, equally split between men and women and age groups 18-25, 25-35, 35-45, and over 45. The survey was carried out in April-May 2016. All respondents owned a smart phone with 3G + internet connection.

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