In contrast to ASEAN, India’s growth story is no secret. According to IMF data, India’s GDP recovered from a negative 5.8 per cent at the height of the pandemic in 2020 to a whopping +9.1 per cent in  2021.  The projected growth rate over the next five years is around 6% p.a. placing India in an enviable position relative to many leading countries

So where is all this coming from? Definitely time to reboot the India of Western imagination and in place of yoga, wildlife, Mother Theresa, and Bollywood, think about the India  of today which is a nuclear power; has launched 424 satellites for 34 different countries and landed probes on the moon. The sheer size of the population – now the world’s largest – supported by a truly world-class education system nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship, placing Indians at the helm of a long list of global and regional companies including Google and Microsoft, Pepsi Cola, Adobe, Mastercard and DBS Bank.

Traditionally heavily reliant on imports, today the  focus is its ‘Make in India’ initiative. There is legitimate and burgeoning pride in India’s ancient heritage alongside the remarkable growth of the Indian tech sector and the challenge, and opportunity, for marketers is to connect modern products with traditional Indian values.

Similar to Southeast Asia, digital transformation is reshaping India’s economy, working towards a government-led digital vision for the country.  According to IDC, as Indian organisations gravitate towards the cloud, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), network infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), and other advanced technologies, spending on digital transformation (DX) and IT modernisation is pegged to reach $85 billion by 2026.

Huge demand for online services as Internet access improves

Given that 60 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas, digitally linking the country together is intended to give millions more citizens access to the benefits and opportunities of a modern economy. Only 50% currently have internet access, a statistic which is not so much a barrier as a huge opportunity for all the services that can be delivered online, as networks expand.

Areas of immense promise for suppliers of digital solutions include education and healthcare. Indians value education enormously and where there may be a shortage of schools, it is not uncommon to find an entire family sharing one mobile device for work and study. 79 percent of Indian students are said to use smartphones for online learning and better access to high speed and reliable Internet, the opportunities in education alone are enormous. The Indian healthcare sector was shown woefully lacking during the Covid pandemic. While more hospitals are desperately needed across many parts of India, online medical care will be a game-changer in a country that still has a high infant mortality rate and an explosive rise in Western lifestyle-linked diseases.

Nonetheless, even with today’s limited infrastructure and Internet access, statistics for internet penetration, smartphone and social media usage all show that the country is moving online. India is already the 8th largest market for eCommerce in the world, bigger than Canada, and a predicted 9.5 percent annual increase in disposable income from 2022 to 2026 strongly suggests this sector will only grow.

When we look at numbers like these, and consider the sophisticated manufacturing capabilities typified, for instance, by Apple’s growing commitment to moving production from China to India, it is clear that India is a market of spectacular potential.

Priority Consultants has had a presence in India for more than 15 years providing public relations services to companies looking to enter the market. Understanding both the needs of the multinational enterprise and the nuances of the national agendas, we are able to provide the advice and strategic counsel that companies need as they explore beyond their home base – after all, We Live Asia.

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