In most households in India, evenings used to be a time when families sat together for dinner. Some decades ago, the idiot box changed that and families started watching soap operas or news together. The time spent at the dinner table, discussing the day's events, reduced considerably.
But if a survey conducted by Google-IPSOS is to be believed, smartphones are changing even this phenomenon. India is leading the race in adopting smartphones, over televisions, for entertainment purposes, the survey revealed.
While calling, texting, and e-mailing are now standard activities on any smartphone, users in India are ready to do more on these sleek devices. The survey, conducted across 40 nations, showed in mature smartphone markets including the United States, United Kingdom and Germany less than 27 percent people are willing to give up the time they spend watching television for smartphones. By comparison, in India, a whopping 49 percent smartphone owners are ready to give up the TV rather than their mobile phones.
"This surprising shift is attributable to the combination of communication and entertainment options that the smartphone brings to users," a statement issued by Google said.
The study also noted 56 percent of Indians find their smartphones more entertaining than the television. In comparison, countries such as the U.S. with 21 percent and the U.K. with 18 percent were nowhere close to India's enthusiasm.
"While the overall penetration of smartphones is higher amongst males in India, it is women who are leading the usage of smartphones over TV sets. The usage and loyalty behavior of these users revealed that 58 percent women found their smartphones more entertaining than the television,” the statement said.
These women are not just watching shows online to entertain themselves, but also using smartphones to find information on where to hang out with friends, connect with them over social networks, and shop online.
"Indian smartphone owners in the male category are not far behind when it comes to using the smartphone over the television; but more than 55 percent of them are glued to watching videos on their devices," it said.
"This is a truly astonishing trend among India's first wave of smartphone users, caused by high quality online video content and superb apps. Although penetration is behind many developed nations, the importance of these multi-purpose gadgets in the lives of Indian smartphone users is much higher in comparison to their global counterparts," Lalitesh Katragadda, country head of India products at Google India, said in a statement.
"We expect this momentum and affinity to cascade into an inflection in India's smartphone adoption, driven by significant price reduction of high quality devices over the next two years," he added.
While smartphone adoption might be on the rise, I wonder what implications this trend has on the eyesight and interpersonal relationships of an entire generation that seems glued to their smartphones.