Indian app market on high-growth trajectory: 9Apps

While the average Indian app user installs no more than 32 apps, much below the world average, 9Apps country manager Ebrahim Popat has said that difficulties notwithstanding, India's app market has ample room to expand.

Registering a growth of 49 percent over the previous year, the number of internet connections in India has reportedly crossed 400 million in December 2015, and the figure is likely to be around 500 million by 2017. The number of mobile internet users is likely to be around 314 million in the next two years.

However, an average Indian user installs no more than 32 apps compared with the world average of 42, a recent study conducted by the Mumbai-based 9Apps (Alibaba group), a leading Android app distribution platform, said.

Of the 32 apps, at least seven are gaming apps and their numbers are likely to increase as high-end smartphones become more popular and prevalent in the country. An interesting aspect is that India's app market is dominated by men and about 20 percent of all mobile internet users in India are women; this gap is unlikely to narrow down in the near future, the study said.

Indian users are estimated to have downloaded 9 billion apps in 2015, five times more than 1.56 billion downloads in 2014. The mobile users have reportedly spent $240 million in 2015 compared with $140 million in the previous year.

While English is the most used language in the app market, 26 percent of users have apps in Hindi language apps, which are available in a limited manner. Most mobile users continue to download apps via 2G network and prefer offline playback versus online streaming since network connections remain weak and this is likely to hamper the Indian app market's growth.

"WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and UC Browser were the top apps of 2015 and Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and Paytm remained the most popular ecommerce apps," the study pointed out.

With India said to be Asia's fastest-growing mobile game market by 2018, 17 percent of all daily app downloads continued to be games -- with car racing and action games being most popular.

In an interview with ZDNet, 9Apps country manager Ebrahim Popat said India's app market has ample room to expand as the country's smartphone penetration remains low and payment infrastructure remains underdeveloped.

"The Indian app market is on a high-growth trajectory but continues to face hurdles such as connectivity, local online payment issues, and lack of effective promotional channels and local app trend insights," Popat said.

"There are a few monitoring tools and keeping the challenges in mind, we have announced the launch of 9Apps Trends, India's first comprehensive local app market monitoring service that provides app trends, data analysis, and an in-depth market report. The monitoring tool will address the growing need for a comprehensive app industry analysis and help local app developers and distributors," he added.

9Apps Trends is a public web facility with free access to all, and includes overall ranking, new ranking, top searched, top installed and other indexes. It represents the app market movements of millions of users -- 9Apps is able to process and interpret the huge data generated via the distribution of over 18 million apps daily.

"We want to share the big data and our insights with the industry about mobile app user behaviours. The report will help Indian mobile users keep up with the trend, and enable app developers to perceive the ever-changing need in the market and twist their business tactics accordingly," he added.

According to Popat, they have taken the onus to build a platform so that all Indian app developers can catch up with the latest trends in the app world. "With the help of our actionable insights into users and local app trends, developers will be able to keep themselves at the forefront of the app tide, understand what's trendy and what attracts users, and make informative decision in developing the next hit app," he added.

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