Booking Holdings, the global leader in online accommodations and travel e-commerce, conducted a study to explore the impact of digital transformation in Asia and gain insight into how increased Internet access will affect the burgeoning population in the region. According to the study titled “The Next Billion Online,” Internet access in India is considered to be a ‘fundamental right’ and a basic necessity. Around 95 percent of respondents in India believe that the “Next Billion in India” will use the Internet a useful and empowering tool to advance their social standing.
Interestingly, 88 percent of tech experts and opinion leaders believe that if the Next Billion gained access to the Internet, there will be economic growth, 84 percent feel that there will be social improvement and 65 percent believe that it will cause political advancement. Booking Holdings surveyed more than 1,000 digital leaders and experts in Asia’s three most populous countries, China, India and Indonesia, to better understand their communities’ expectations, aspirations and areas of caution for the digital future. Findings reveal that rising Internet penetration rates across Asia are expected to match those in Western markets, with another one billion people signing up online.
With Internet access increasing alongside a growing number of users, India’s economic opportunity is anticipated to boom due to new learning opportunities presented online. While 75 percent of them will spend time on social media, a close 71 percent will use it for news. Around 67 percent of them will use it for Voice/Video calls, 64 percent will use the Internet to send messages and 59 percent will use it for research.
“Looking at the ways in which respondents anticipate the Next Billion using the Internet, a picture emerges of aspirations waiting to be unleashed. When these consumers are finally connected to the Internet, it is likely to accelerate a whole range of areas including the retail market, the job market and leisure and entertainment landscape.” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings, speaking on the findings.
The “Next Billion Online” research study also revealed an attitude change similar to that seen in Western markets a decade ago. The Indian population is beginning to embrace Internet access as a human right due to its ubiquity and vital role in providing the connectivity and opportunity needed to advance in society today.