A large proportion of emerging market populations now access the internet principally via smartphones. This is spurring phenomenal innovation and driving huge growth in e-commerce.
The success of Chinese companies Alibaba and Tencent in building digital ecosystems that include everything from e-finance, e-commerce, to online-to-offline services and mobile gaming is well documented.
But China is not alone. In fact, India currently provides one of the most powerful examples of how digital transformation is taking hold. Mobile penetration is still low, but the number of smartphone users is increasing dramatically, forecast to expand to more than 440 million by 2022 (from 199 million in 2015). A total of 70% of the population accesses the internet exclusively through mobile devices, enabling a broader slice of the population to get connected (two-thirds of the population live in rural areas).[i]
More importantly, mobile connectivity now means a whole layer of financial inclusion can open up. There are now more than 300 million Aadhar-linked bank accounts and the next technology step could see users able to carry out transactions through biometric authentication on their smartphone or tablets, with no need for cash or even cards. [ii]
Based on the Chinese experience of the e-commerce boom, increasing mobile adoption across more emerging markets looks set to disrupt not just the retail sector, but also its enablers – not least the financial sector, where e-finance innovators have helped drive acceptance of the new digital ecosystems. Financial institutions in many emerging markets have been quick to embrace technology, making them world leaders in the use of electronic distribution channels.“
[i] Statista, DMO, We Are Social survey January 2017, comScore MMX Multi-Platform as at May 2017.
[ii]Unique Identification Authority of India, Government of India