Mobile App Market in India: Overview & Major Trends

By | January 4, 2014
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A detailed study of the Indian mobile app market throws up interesting figures and observations. Ranging from the prevalence of smartphones in the country, to availability of data plans and nature of app-usage – certain salient features of the mobile app market in India have been highlighted here.

 

As per research reports, the total number of Indians with smartphone would be almost 400 million, by the end of 2016. The number of 3G subscribers in the country is also on a steady upward spiral. These findings, in turn, indicate a vast and potentially lucrative market for advanced mobile apps in India. In the current discourse, we will highlight some major points related to the app market in our country:

 

  1. Total market value – With the regular launch of new smartphone apps and the emergence of several mobile application development companies, the Indian app market is one of the most valuable ones in the globe. In a couple of years, the market for mobile apps is expected to go beyond Rs. 2600 crores.

  2. Market share – The Indian scenario on this count is significantly different from that prevalent in the international markets. Android is the overwhelmingly dominant mobile application development platform (with over 90 per cent of the total market share) – while Apple, the leading platform in the US, has a rather negligible presence. Compared to worldwide app download figures, the share of iphone app development in India hovers around a lowly 2 per cent.

  3. Popular app categories – News applications and social media apps enjoy maximum popularity among Indian users, while gaming apps also witness high download figures. Surveys have shown that Whatsapp and mobile Facebook were the two smartphone applications people spent most of their time on. The share for music and video apps is also on the rise.

  4. Average profitability of paid apps – Rather surprisingly, the amount of money spent by an average smartphone user on paid applications is projected to go down by over Rs. 50 over the next couple of years. That, however, is likely to be offset by the rapidly increasing base of 3G service subscribers. As such, the total revenue figure from the paid apps market segment alone is likely to go beyond Rs. 2050 crores.

  5. Linguistic barriers – By far the biggest challenge that any mobile application development company in India typically faces. Only about a quarter of the total number of smartphone users in the country are fluent with the English language – and its difficult to penetrate into the rural belts, where there are plenty of non-English speaking people, who use Android handsets or iphones. There are even cases where users are not even aware of the data plans provided by the mobile service providers. Phones that support vernacular languages are being launched, to tackle this factor.

  6. Mobile internet access – Almost 10 per cent of all web pages viewed in a day by Indian users are accessed via mobile handsets. More than half of the total number of internet-users in the nation have web-enabled smartphones. The popularity of Broadband connections on desktops/laptops is still high – but mobile web access is fast catching up.

  7. Dominance of feature phones – Although smartphones are gradually making their presence felt in the Indian markets, the cheaper feature phones remain the preferred choice of most middle-class to upper middle-class users. At present, eight to nine of every internet-powered handset in India is a feature phone. Professional app developers, hence, are more focused on churning out custom mobile applications for these handsets.

  8. Profit-sharing – While the huge (and expanding) pool of internet-enabled phone users is an encouragement to every Blackberry, Android and iphone application development company in India – the skewed revenue-distribution structure serves up a problem. Most mobile operator companies demand a hefty share from the total revenue generated from apps, with the developers finally ending up with below-par final profit figures. Thankfully, the sheer volume of users somewhat makes up for this factor.

  9. Number of mobile transactions – Monetary transactions via mobile apps is increasingly finding acceptance amongst users in India. The total number of such transactions on an annual basis stands well over seven million, and new finance applications that support secure payments are also being launched in the Indian market regularly. Remarkably though, the average volume of such mobile transactions (under Rs. 300) is much lower than that in the United States or the United Kingdom.

  10. Data tariffs and plans – Given the still-existing prevalence of feature phones over smartphones in India – the GPRS data packages offered by the different mobile service providers have to be competitively priced. However, that has not always been the case, and average consumers have stayed away from subscribing for any of the expensive, high-end plans. Over the last few years though, GPRS data tariffs have come down significantly – and this has had a trickle-down effect on mobile app usage.

 

According to researches conducted by LinkedIn, India features in the top 5 mobile app markets in the world, in terms of potential profitability and opportunity for growth. Along with Android and Blackberry (the latter, though, has suffered several recent setbacks), Apple iphones are also starting to make their presence felt in India. With the quality of the value-added services (VaS) provided by the mobile companies also being improved constantly, Indian users appear all set to welcome apps in their handsets in a bigger manner within the next two to three years.

 

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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