The user population of mobile social networks in India is expected to reach 72 million by 2014, driven by the reduced cost of smartphones and the launch of 3G services, according to the latest market study by Analysys Mason.
The number of all online social network users in India has grown by 43 percent to approximately 33 million unique users as of July 2010 -- with India emerging as the seventh largest market globally.
According to the study results, the increased number of social network users is driving the number of mobile social network users (around 10 million in 2009), representing around 2.2 percent of the total number of mobile subscribers.
"Innovative data tariff plans (daily, weekly and monthly plans) and the significant reduction in data charges are driving adoption of data-based services such as social networking," says Sourabh Kaushal, Principal Consultant at Analysys Mason.
Mobile phone service providers and handset manufacturers have started taking several initiatives to address this emerging opportunity. However, both need to expand their addressable base of consumers and focus on service innovation to increase the penetration of social networking in India.
"Operators are launching services such as pay-per-site tariffs and are expected to promote social networking applications to drive adoption of data services among their subscribers," explains Kaushal. "Handset manufacturers have also started to launch mobile handsets specifically designed for social networking in order to increase the value proposition and differentiate their devices."
Young people and young professionals are driving the adoption of mobile social networking in India, accounting for 70 percent of the total number of users in 2009. In terms of gender, males account for 56 percent of the total number of mobile social network users in India.