A global report by app analytics firm App Annie, has thrown plenty of light as to why Google, the Android community and the world thinks that India is a very important market even though smartphone penetration out here is still below 30 percent. The analytics firm drafted a global report on the app scene (Play Store and App Store) and it turns out that India stands at number one in the Google Play Store when it comes to app downloads, usage and a lot more.
Android users in India downloaded a staggering 6 billion apps from the Google Play Store in 2016. Doing this, India not only broke its own records (it was number 3 last year) but also surpassed the US according to the report. But there’s more.
The country even spent more time using those apps. 900 billion is the number of hours spent by busy Android users across the globe. Surprisingly users in India cannot get their hands off their smartphones indeed (wonder if WhatsApp was to blame), with a major chunk of 150 billion hours hogged up by users in the country.
The best part is that India is not even running at its full potential as the report points out. “India’s phenomenal progress (in downloads) over the past two years is even more impressive when considering its potential for further gains. In 2016, India surpassed the US as the second largest smartphone market due in large part to a rise in domestically produced smartphones. This is only the beginning, however, as India’s smartphone penetration is still below 30% and its overall economy is poised for massive growth,”
Not picture perfect
While things may appear to be picture perfect, the App Annie report also points out to one small hiccup. Indian users are not exactly spending when it comes to apps. While we expect the same to ramp up with the whole digital payments and demonetisation move, things do not look that great when it comes to spending… on apps. India was not even in the top 10 countries list and this is not just for the Google Play Store but the App Store as well.
While both iOS and Android users in India love downloading apps and spending in them, they rarely jumped to buying an app on either app store, indicating that users in India, have yet to treat apps as valuable pieces of software.
The scales have changed
While many would blame Google’s exit from China to higher numbers in India, the scales have indeed changed.
Apple is gunning for India (even though it is acting a bit pricey) with US and China markets showing a slow down in sales. Android, India’s much-loved mobile OS still keeps on growing by the year; and then there’s the 4G price war that is making owning a smartphone with data affordable.
Local manufacturers and local manufacturing are bringing down the price tags of smartphones as well, which makes them affordable and lets citizens of the country use those apps and take advantage of the services.
Talking about taking advantage, everyone is getting online. The demonetisation move by the prime minister which is pushing for digital payments could have been another reason as well. Glancing at the situation from afar, a smartphone is the shortest and quickest way to go digital with digital payments and the connection here also happens to be apps. And these factors do affect the scale of things by a large margin. The BHIM app for example has been downloaded a staggering 10 million times from the Play Store in just 10 days and the PM could not have put it out a better way “The BHIM App is a fine example of Make in India and how technology is being effectively used to end the menace of corruption and black money.” The BHIM app has yet to arrive on iOS.
“We’re seeing major indications of this shift globally. App adoption is growing rapidly in emerging markets including India and Indonesia while mature markets are seeing apps challenge and change traditional industries including retail, entertainment and banking,” App Annie Senior Vice President Research Danielle Levitas told PTI.
And app-happy India is indeed going places. Google too is trying to help with the recent Digital Unlocked campaign. The search giant recently launched an initiative in India to get more SMB onboard as they play an important role for India’s economy with 37 percent of the country’s GDP is contributed by them. The program is being offered in three formats, online, offline and mobile.
Add to this the PM’s push for a Digital India and we also begin to realise that other, wider factors may have contributed to the same, like Google’s and RailTel’s Public Wi-Fi. So yes, India’s is moving forward with digital in its mind, but there’s a lot more potential here that’s still waiting to be tapped into.
Source:From First Post