Global app downloads surged in the third quarter of 2017 and much of it was led by India and Southeast Asia, a new report by App Annie indicates. Apple App Store and Google Play Store jointly accounted for 26 billion downloads worldwide, growing 8 percent over last year. This figure pertains to new downloads only. India, which has been the largest market for Google Play since Q4 2016, was the biggest contributor to the absolute download growth. Also Read - Google Play Store gets major design overhaul: New navigation, revamp settings, moreAlso Read - A fake Netflix-like app removed from Google Play Store after it spread malware via WhatsApp
Much of this surge in app downloads from India was a result of the disruption caused by Reliance Jio in the mobile and telecom market in the country. Coinciding with the disruptive launch of Reliance Jio s network in September 2016, Google Play downloads in this country have increased at a staggering pace. In Q3 2017, they were nearly twice as high as those in Q3 2016, states App Annie. Sustained growth from India as well as other emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia helped Google Play sustain its lead over the iOS ecosystem. The gap widened to 125 percent compared to 115 percent in Q3 2016. ALSO READ: Google Play Services becomes first five billion-download Android app Also Read - Apple starts rejecting apps using device fingerprinting to track users
While South Asian markets helped Android’s cause, iOS app downloads recorded a 8 percent yearly growth mostly attributable to China. It saw the highest quarter-over-quarter market share growth, followed by the US and Saudi Arabia, according to App Annie. Not only downloads but app spending is growing too. Combined revenues from iOS and Google Play apps touched $17 billion in Q3 2017, up 28 percent from a year ago. China was a “major” contributor here as well, accounting for the largest share of consumer spend on app. It was followed by South Korea, another mature app market in the Far East.
Total time spent on apps also grew, with Android users spending 325 billion hours in Q3 2017. That is a big growth of 40 percent from a year ago. Entertainment apps, especially video streaming apps, recorded significant growth both in terms of consumer spends as well as time spent on them. “In terms of categories, ‘Entertainment’ had standout success in Q3 2017 on both iOS and Google Play. Worldwide consumer spend in this category grew 30 percent quarter over quarter on iOS and 45 percent on Google Play,” App Annie states. China’s Tencent Video was the most popular entertainment app on iOS, while HBO Now and Netflix took that spot on Google Play. ALSO READ: Apple iOS 11: App download limit over cellular network increased to 150MB
App Annie estimates that worldwide app downloads will reach nearly 240 billion and consumer spend will cross $100 billion by 2021. Much of the action would happen in emerging markets where first-time smartphone users are a “significant driver of this growth”. Given that these markets still have a relatively low level of smartphone penetration, we expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future, App Annie explains.