25 May 2008

Internet in India: The New Divide/Suresh Mohankumar, JWT Planning, Chennai

The world of Internet in India is clearly divided between two kinds of people, the ones who use the internet and those who don’t go near it: the Haves and the Have-nots. As the Internet continues to grow in India, internet companies have to every day live with the question: What is it the Haves have seen and why is it the Have-nots refuse to see?Here is a handy point of view, that indepth interviews with internet users and non-users revealed.
What the Haves admit to enjoying
Efficient Living: saves time, gives me the best deals

Enlightened Living: quenches my thirst for knowledge, stimulates my curiosity

Empowered Living: stimulates my spirit of enterprise, helps me make informed decisions

Entertained Living: engages me with what I am interested in

Emotionally Anchored Living: takes geography out of relationships
Expressive Living: Gives me the opportunity to express my individuality through creative endeavours

What's stopping the Have-nots
Barrier of Relevance: "The Internet is only for business people and people who travel abroad frequently. How can it benefit us? "
Barrier of Exposure: "It does not go with our culture. It is definitely not for girls."
Barrier of Inadequacy: Seen as a distant and complex entity, Techno phobic - "I have never used a computer-it has so many buttons, I might do something wrong ."
Barrier of Fear: "I will not let my children near the internet even if it is for half an hour. Even if it is free. Pornography and adult content is easily available”
Barrier of Language: "If it was in our regional language we would even get our neighbors and friends to use it ."
Barrier of Inertia: "How can I learn something new now? (age factor) “I don’t need it for my job” “Probably it will be useful for my children - but later”. "What is the need for it?"

The trick for internet brand marketers of course is to show the Have-nots what the Haves have seen, and find those exact moments of truth that makes people cross the fence.


  1. What about the largest barrier in India, which is lack of physical access to the internet?

  2. Few more things which are stopping Havenot's -Infrastructure,lack of local content, accessing internet from public systems(net cafes, colleges)