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What The Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2017 Means For India



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Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ partner Mary Meeker has released the internet trend report for 2017. This annual report is considered to be the best way to get up to speed with everything going on in the technology sector. This 355 slides report lays down the developments and growth in the tech sector and is the most informative research report on the progression and regression of the various sub-sectors of the industry.

Here’s what the 2017 report says about the Indian Industry:

India currently has 355 million Internet users, making us the second highest country right behind China. While Indian Internet popularity grew 28% in mid-June 2016 with 40% year on year growth, Internet penetration is still at 27%. The 50% Internet penetration mark is still far away.

Smartphone prices are still high at 8% GDP. However, data cost has dropped from 3% to 1.3% since 2015, meaning that more people can afford to use a smartphone. India crossed the US market in the year 2016 for the number of Google Play downloads and is the number one global market for time spent on Android. Including the first quarter of 2017, India’s smartphone shipments have continued to grow by 15% year on year.

Chinese smartphones like Xiomi, Oppo and Vivo made considerable gains as increased competition has reduced prices and improved quality. Made in India smartphones Lava, Micromax and Jio are battling it out for an inexpensive 4G feature phone. On the one hand, the average selling price for Micromax, Lava, and Karbonn has fallen, while there was a rise of Chinese players. Overall the average selling price of smartphones has stabled. The fight of Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo for the smartphone market with quality features and online distribution has intensified with the entry of Reliance Jio’s Lyf branded phones.

The mobile web traffic is well above global average at 80% and second only to Nigeria, with Indians spending 45% of their time on mobile phones. Indians spend 45% of their time on mobiles looking at Entertainment, with Search, Social, and Messaging coming in second at 34% while only 2% of their time is spent on news and media.

Since the entry of Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea collectively own 60% share of broadband subscribers, have also had to cut down data rates. There was a 10% decline in data costs per GB decline on a quarterly basis, while voice costs declined 4% quarter on quarter. There was a further decline of data costs by 20% among incumbents by March 2017.

Google Chrome became the second most preferred web browser in India, beaten by China’s UC Web with 50% market share. Whatsapp is India’s top downloaded Android App followed by Facebook messenger.

The report also states PM Narendra Modi’s policies, including Digital India, focusing on online payments, is a factor in the strong growth of India’s internet usage. However, devices and data are still expensive despite the falling prices. The report also spoke about digital payments and that UPI-based payments stood at $359 million till March 2017. Over 82% of the population is covered under the Aadhaar scheme.

This was just about the Indian Internet scenario. The Mary Meeker report covers many more insightful areas ranging from digital streaming, Facebook and Google ad placements, Cloud services, online gaming to health care.

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Supreme Court Puts End to Misleading Celebrity Endorsements 



Supreme Court Of India

The Supreme Court of India has taken a strong stance against misleading advertisements featuring public figures, emphasizing their responsibility in promoting products. This decision comes in response to concerns about the influence celebrities and public figures hold over consumer choices.


The Heart of the Matter:


The court’s ruling highlights two key points:


  1. Shared Responsibility: Advertisers, advertising agencies, and the public figures endorsing products are all equally liable for issuing misleading advertisements. This means that celebrities can no longer simply lend their face to a product without due diligence. They are expected to have a good understanding of the product and its claims before endorsing it.


  1. Self-Declaration:  The court mandated a stricter protocol requiring advertisers to obtain a self-declaration from endorsers. This declaration, similar to the Cable Television Networks Rules (1994), ensures that the advertised product complies with existing laws and avoids offensive content.


Why it Matters:


Celebrity endorsements hold immense power in influencing consumer behavior. Consumers often trust the judgment of their favorite actors, athletes, or social media personalities. This trust can be exploited by promoting products with exaggerated claims or those lacking scientific backing. 


The Case that Triggered the Ruling:


The court’s decision stemmed from a case involving Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., a popular Indian consumer goods company, and yoga guru Ramdev. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) filed a plea against the company and Ramdev, accusing them of misleading advertisements and a smear campaign against COVID-19 vaccinations and modern medicine.


The Road Ahead:


This ruling is a significant step toward protecting consumers from deceptive marketing practices.  It encourages celebrities and public figures to be more selective and responsible about the products they endorse. Additionally, the court urged government bodies to implement procedures for consumers to easily report misleading advertisements. 


This move by the Supreme Court is likely to have a ripple effect across the advertising industry in India.  It will force companies to be more transparent and hold celebrities accountable for promoting products they don’t fully understand or that make unsubstantiated claims. 


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Mercedes Hits the Brakes on EVs: Profit Woes Lead to Focus on Gas-Powered Cars



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Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is experiencing a shift in gears, prioritizing gasoline-powered vehicles over its previously ambitious electric vehicle (EV) strategy. This comes after disappointing sales figures and shrinking profit margins for their electric offerings.

The Dream Runs out of Charge:

Mercedes, a leader in the luxury car market, had set a goal to be fully electric by 2030. However, sluggish sales of their electric vehicles, particularly the high-end EQS and EQE sedans, have forced a recalibration of their plans. The company’s profit margin dipped to a concerning 9% in the first quarter of 2024, falling below their long-term target range.

Why the Slow Charge?

Several factors are contributing to the lackluster performance of Mercedes’ EVs:

  •  Price Point Pinch: The high price tag of Mercedes’ electric cars, ranging from $70,000 to $120,000, limits their appeal compared to more affordable electric options. 
  •  Competition Heats Up: Other luxury carmakers like Tesla and BMW are offering strong competition, with some even surpassing Mercedes in EV sales growth. 
  •  Infrastructure Concerns: Gaps in charging infrastructure and anxieties about range remain significant deterrents for potential EV buyers.

Back to the Drawing Board:

In response to these challenges, Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius announced a revised strategy. The company will:

  •  Extend Focus on Combustion Engines:  Production of gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicles will continue well into the 2030s, catering to customer demand.
  •  Rethink EV Strategy: Mercedes will analyze consumer preferences and market trends to refine their electric car offerings. This may involve focusing on more affordable models or improving features to enhance range and charging efficiency.

The Road Ahead

The shift by Mercedes highlights the complexities of the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. It underscores the need for car manufacturers to balance ambitious environmental goals with the realities of consumer behavior and market competition.

Is this a Permanent Pause?

While Mercedes is putting the brakes on its all-electric vision, it doesn’t necessarily signal a complete retreat from EVs. The company may leverage this time to strengthen its electric offerings and ensure they are competitive in the rapidly evolving market. Only time will tell if Mercedes can reclaim its position as a leader in the electric vehicle race.

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Artificial Intelligence

Reddit Soars After Strong Earnings and Upbeat Outlook



Reddit, the social media platform known for its online communities and meme culture, saw its stock price jump significantly after releasing its first earnings report since going public in March. Investors were impressed by the company’s strong financial performance and optimistic forecasts for the future.

The report highlighted a surge in user engagement, with daily active users increasing by 37% to 82.7 million in the first quarter. This growth was accompanied by an 8% rise in average revenue per user, indicating Reddit’s success in monetizing its platform. 

Perhaps the most significant factor driving the stock price increase was Reddit’s forecast for the second quarter. The company projected revenue to fall between $240 million and $255 million, exceeding analyst expectations. Additionally, Reddit anticipates achieving break-even status or even generating a profit, surpassing predictions of a loss.

This positive outlook can be attributed in part to Reddit’s flourishing advertising business. The company is also capitalizing on a new revenue stream: content licensing deals with artificial intelligence (AI) firms. Reddit’s vast collection of user-generated content provides valuable data for training AI models, attracting companies like Google.

Analysts believe Reddit is still in its early stages of monetization and predict continued growth in the coming quarters, fueled by advancements in ad targeting and measurement tools. This optimism is reflected in the stock price surge, which has climbed roughly 70% since Reddit’s IPO.

Overall, Reddit’s first earnings report paints a bright picture for the company’s future. With a thriving user base, increasing revenue opportunities, and a promising outlook, Reddit appears well-positioned for continued success in the ever-evolving social media landscape.

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