Developers made the most of 2017 in India as app economy showed impressive growth. In its 2017 Retrospective Report, App Annie highlights that there has been a 60 percent growth in the number of app downloads globally, while consumer spends on apps too has more than doubled. But what is interesting for us Indians is that our obsession with apps resulted in an astounding 215 percent of growth.
The annual report states that the time spent in apps grew by 30 percent where each user spends about 43 days (1.5 months!) per year in apps. The usage varies from region to region. In China and Japan, users have over 100 apps on their phone and access about only 40 of them, but in India, an average user has about 80 apps in their phone and uses 40 of them.
Another interesting insight to come of the report is that the Chinese market is the strongest when it comes to apps as compared to most markets in the West. Users in China spent over 200 billion hours in apps across iOS, Google Play, and third-party Android. India comes close second where users spent almost 50 billion hours in apps during the same period, making the country stand ahead of the US and Japan. According to the report, app usage grew in India as a result of subsidized, unlimited 4G access provided by Reliance Jio.
If one talks about the app consumption pattern of Indians, social media apps continue to remain the most preferred. The top 10 most downloaded apps in India were WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Truecaller, SHAREit, MX Player, UC Browser, Amazon, Paytm, and Instagram. Out of the 71 billion hours spent on the top-five social apps on Android, WhatsApp accounted for over 50 percent of those hours. While all other apps are foreign, homegrown app Paytm’s featuring in the top list is of significance.
According to the report, the growth of Paytm is attributed to the government’s demonetization drive, which prompted merchants and banks to respond with digital methods of payments. Paytm maintained a strong market position with 30 percent usage penetration among Android phone users in the year 2017. In addition to Paytm, fintech launches including Google Tez, PhonePe, and Jio Wallet are further expected to shake up the market. Meanwhile, the preference for online shopping has resulted in a 10 percent growth in usage of digital-first retail apps.
In terms of entertainment, the top video streaming apps across nations was YouTube, with the exception of China where the service is banned. The second-most preferred video streaming service is neither Amazon Prime Video nor Netflix, but homegrown Hotstar, followed by JioTV, JioCinema, and Voot. Owing to the introduction of the Reliance Jio 4G, video consumption, especially via mobile data, has increased by more than 6x since the first half of 2016.
The top 10 game apps in India in 2017 were Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Doodle Army 2 : Mini Militia, Ludo King, 8 Ball Pool, Subway Surfers, World Cricket Championship 2, Temple Run 2, Clash Royale, and Candy Crush Soda Saga.
It is a popular belief that we, Indians, do not like to spend on things which can be consumed for free, such as songs or movies. However, App Annie report contradicts that by highlighting that Indians spent the most on Netflix app (which is currently the most expensive when it comes to subscriptions), followed by Tinder. The top apps where users spend also includes music apps Gaana and Saavn.
Lastly, in top country rankings, India is now the number one country when it comes to Google Play 2017 worldwide downloads. In the same rankings for iOS platform, India is not in the top 10 list, clearly indicating there are more Android users in the country facilitating app economy than iOS users.