Study: The Internet habits of India’s ‘Generation Y’

The ‘Generation Y’ survey by Tata Consultancy Services provides several keen insights into how India’s youth use social media. With youth being a key target demographic for several brands, it is useful to know their preferences, major trends and social media habits.

The survey was conducted across 12 cities encompassing the major metropolitan cities and smaller mini-metros – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. Over 12,300 high school students in ages of 12-18 were surveyed by means of a questionnaire. We present here some of the relevant statistics and significant points from the study:

  • Gadgets owned: 79% of the students surveyed own a mobile phone, 75% own a desktop PC, 59% own an iPod or mp3 player, 55% own a laptop, and 31% own a gaming console. Mobile phones are the favourite device of the most people – 29%, followed by laptops (15%), mp3 players (14%), gaming consoles (14%) and computers (11%). Televisions and cameras are the least favourite devices, with less than 1%.
  • Time spent on the Internet: Nearly 40% of those surveyed said they spend over an hour on the internet daily. This number is significantly more for the metros – 52% in Delhi and 61% in Mumbai spend over an hour surfing the internet. The top reasons for using the internet were research for school work (74%), chatting or connecting with friends (68%), listening to music (50%), accessing email (45%) and watching movies (32%).
  • Mode of using Internet: Desktop PCs and laptops are the most used to surf the internet with 68% and 49% of the respondents using them. Mobile phones are highly popular as well, with 42%, followed by tablets with 18%. The use of gadgets other than computers is once again, significantly higher in metros, mobile devices are used by 59% in both Delhi and Mumbai; tablets by 21% in Delhi and 29% in Mumbai.
  • Social networking: 85% teenagers have a Facebook account, 43% are on Orkut, 30% are on Twitter, and 27% have an account on other social networking websites. In Delhi, 96% of those surveyed had a Facebook account, dramatically up from 24% in 2009; similarly in Mumbai, 97% had a Facebook account, as compared to 40% in 2009.
  • Preferred mode of communication: Even though voice calls (59%) are still the most popular way, an increasing number of people are using alternatives like email (44%), text messaging (36%) , instant messaging (33%), or Facebook/Twitter (28%) as their preferred mode of communicating with friends. In the major metros, 49% of the respondents said text messaging was their preferred way to communicate, closely followed by instant messaging with 45%, and Facebook/Twitter with 38%.
  • Career choice: IT (34%) is now the top career choice for students, ahead of the traditionally preferred fields like engineering (29%) or medicine (11%), reflecting the changing mindset of India’s youth.

The survey captures trends that are similar across the country, irrespective of whether the respondents are from large metros or smaller emerging markets i.e. Tier II cities; it also highlights the differences, such as the prevalence of mobile in the larger cities.

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