India Fastest Growing Mobile App Market in 2018

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Mobile app revenues in India shot up in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 across both – Android and iOS platforms. Market insights from data analysis firm App Annie show that India’s app market grew 41 percent year-on-year in Q1 2018, and 250 percent since Q1 2016.

An outcome of the country’s rapidly increasing smartphone population, India also led all other markets in terms of the most app downloads, followed by the U.S. and China (iOS only).

App growth segments

E-commerce is currently making its presence across a wide array of consumer verticals in India – everything from shopping, e-wallets, hailing cab services, and listening to music to event management and matchmaking to sourcing almost anything online – can be achieved via smartphone apps.

The increasing number of hyper local services offered by India’s numerous tech startups also add to the expanding potential of the country’s online market.

Add traditional categories like video streaming, social media, and gaming in the mix, and India’s mobile app industry is nothing short of booming.

In fact, the top three apps downloaded in India in the first quarter of 2018 were related to video streaming. The two most popular applications, by revenue, were Netflix and Tinder.

UCBrowser, ShareIt, and Hypstar followed by Facebook, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger round up the top ten apps list.

Future prospects for India’s app market

Regardless of leading on performance indicators, India remains far behind the U.S. when accounting for absolute revenues generated from the sale of mobile apps. The U.S. leads other countries, generating revenues worth US$3.2 billion in Q1, followed by Japan at US$2.7 billion. India ranked 29th, generating revenues worth US$47 million.

Nevertheless, the market potential for India’s mobile apps is expected to rise exponentially in coming years, not least due to improving network connectivity and the expanding range of affordable smartphone models.

In 2017, India’s internet user population was 281 million, with 62 percent in urban areas; the country’s smartphone population itself was over 300 million. This is the next challenge for app developers in the Indian app market – accessing rural consumers and monetizing the domestic app industry.

For that to happen, overall fundamentals need to be addressed, such as capital intensive internet infrastructure investments (network access and internet speed) and growing per capita and disposable incomes.

While these may be more long term goals, one can expect access and interest in apps to continue to proliferate in India.

For one, the federal government is ambitious about its Digital India program.

Second, the country’s telecos are confronting and competing against the most aggressive strategy witnessed thus far in the history of its sector – in the voice-over-LTE service offerings (4G voLTE) provided by Reliance Jio, led by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

A third factor puts India in a similar situation as China – a bulk of India’s population has come online for the first time via the medium of mobile internet. As mobile internet gets easier to access and becomes cheaper in India, its app economy is certain to lunge forward into a much more profitable future.


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