Today, apps are the doorway to content consumption on mobile. Almost in every part of the world where smartphones have seen rapid adoption, apps are the preferred way of accessing digital content.
Apps such as Zomato and Uber have provided a unique solution to real-world problems while those such as WhatsApp have changed the way people communicate. In fact, there is a whole economy flourishing around the business of apps which are in many ways, driving technology adoption around the world. It is not unusual to find consumers moving to smartphones just so that they can use apps that provide access to specific technology features or content.
The flourishing global 'app'onomy
A recent report from Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) suggests that the global mobile app economy is rapidly growing with a revenue of USD 86 million in 2014 and an annual growth rate of 27%.
While the U.S. is currently the largest market with a share of nearly 55%, Asian countries are expected to outpace the region in terms of app downloads and usage. It is estimated that the app economy in India particularly will see strong growth, with its total worth going up from USD 150 million currently to USD 300 million in 2016.
In fact, India today accounts for over 100 million app downloads in a month, ranking third amongst all countries in terms of app downloads. The country sees an average of 17 app downloads per user, of which 4 are paid. The average number of app downloads per user globally, stands at 26 apps, five of which are paid apps.
What is driving the Indian 'app'onomy?
It may come as a surprise but it is global apps that are driving the Indian app economy today. It is estimated that 80% of apps downloaded in India are global apps. This can be due to the fact that most smartphone users start with global apps, especially the ones that try to cater to the country's audience in a manner as localized as possible. Barring E-commerce, instant messenger and a few banking and utility apps there is a big void for localized apps to local content, waiting to be filled.
On the other hand, smartphone penetration is rapidly growing in the country and mobile phones are seeing strong adoption even in rural areas. India is projected to have 236 million mobile internet users by 2016 and this number is projected to go up to 314 million by 2017.
As consumers in the country get connected, this will open up more opportunities to create and deliver apps especially in regions where infrastructure is otherwise lacking for digital content delivery. There is a big opportunity for apps that deliver localized services such as banking and education and hyper local commerce to find steady uptake among mobile internet users in the country.