“Mobile-First” India Presents Enthusiastic Market

Smartphone securityMobile commerce is booming in India, writes Shelley Singh for the Times of India, providing a major opportunity for biometrics technology providers.

Tracking the “blistering pace of growth in m-commerce”, Singh quotes an analyst for Forrester Research as predicting that smartphone penetration in the country’s market will increase from 8 percent at the end of this year to over 21 percent by 2017. The managing director of Google India, meanwhile, predicts that by 2017, 70 to 80 percent of all commercial transactions will take place over smartphones.

Mobile commerce companies Flipkart.com and Snapdeal.com are both reporting exponential growth over the past year, while Oberoi Hotels and Taj Group are offering mobile wallet apps. HDFC Bank, meanwhile, reports that its mobile app has been downloaded by 23 million customers, and that 75 to 80 percent of customers’ deposits are done online. And major institutions like Amazon and State Bank of India have partnered with a company called Ezetap, which provides a device that syncs with mobile phones to let them perform credit and debit transactions. India is, in short, “a mobile first country,” as the head of HDFC Securities notes.

With such potent market enthusiasm, and with a population already getting familiar with biometric identification vis-a-vis the Modi government’s Aadhaar citizenship card project, the country seems more than ready for large-scale market penetration from biometrics providers eager to tap into its mobile device market.