Mobile Phone Ownership Soars Amongst Women in India

In the last ten years, women in India have increased their usage of technology fivefold. Women in two-thirds of Indian households now use smartphones.

Local Circles, which is India’s leading community social media platform, conducted polling amongst 20,000 households across 324 districts in India. The respondents were from a broad range of cities and districts with 45% from tier 1, 36% from tier 2, and the remaining 19% lived in tier 3 and 4 or rural districts. 37% of the respondents were female and 63% were male. The survey was conducted to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The first question that was asked was whether a female member of the household who had not previously been using a computer, tablet, or smartphone was doing so today. 68% of the respondents answered yes to the question. Households, where technology was already being used by women ten years ago, were excluded from the survey.

In 2021 India had 1.2 billion people who had a mobile phone subscription and 750 million of them were smartphone users. It is estimated that approximately 200 million households now have one or two women in them who are using the internet for a myriad of reasons. This compares to 40 million households back in 2012. While the massive growth has been fuelled by cheaper smartphones and improved nationwide internet connectivity, the survey also wanted to better understand what women used their smartphones and tablets for.

Women in India use their smartphones for a wide range of uses. The most popular response to the question was for keeping in touch with family and friends. This has been particularly so during the pandemic. The social networking site Sheroes saw extraordinary growth while lockdowns were in place. Almost four million women joined up in less than two months. Women who had previously not been active internet users found themselves a safe space to hang out with other women, keep up with family and make new friends. Women are also using the internet to access education and go shopping.

It has also been established that women use the internet to buy concert tickets and go online to do internet banking and make payments online. 18% of the households questioned said that women were using their smartphones to run a business or create online content. Smartphones and tablets are also used for video and sports streaming across various providers, including Netflix and Disney. People aren’t only watching the cricket live but also having a flutter on the outcome of the game while accessing the best cricket betting app in India, like Parimatch. 79% of the households questioned said that women used technology to access information. The information accessed includes taking classes, viewing videos, listening to music, and consuming news.

Technology, in general, is fuelling much of the success in the Indian economy. Traditional industries such as textiles, spices, raw materials, and minerals have helped India to become one of the largest economies in the world. Recently, investment in cutting-edge technology has also helped to develop new industries including digital agriculture and MedTech, while numerous micro and small businesses are also starting to flourish. While the US and China continue to dominate the market for privately-owned tech start-ups, India is clearly a serious contender.