Social media analysts predict that by 2015, India will overtake the United States as the largest market for Facebook. India’s growth in both mobile devices and Internet access will act as a catalyst to the realization of this prediction.
According to Shalini Verma, Gartner’s principal research analyst in an interview with CNBC, “India could overtake the United States in the next three years. Last year, Facebook users in India doubled. Growth will be driven by mobile internet users in second- and third-tier cities.”
Currently, India is the third biggest market of Facebook, with 45 million users. U.S. is ahead with 157 million users and 47 million from Brazil. However, according to Suhale Kapoor, executive vice president of AbsolutData, India currently has 120 million users online, which is expected to grow to 400 million by 2015, and by then India will have more Facebook users than the United States.
Aside from that, India’s mobile platform will also help make Facebook much more popular in the country. Smartphones are getting cheaper and data plans here are very cheap. According to Kapoor, some smartphones are as cheap as 92 US dollars.
Verma and Kapoor mentioned that language won’t be a problem, although only a small percentage of Indians (11 percent) communicate in English. On the other hand, Facebook also wants to let users communicate with their own language. In fact, it launched a mobile app called “Facebook For Every Phone,” which is a mobile app available in seven local dialects from India.