A smartphone today is the first device of all Internet and content access, especially in the emerging markets. Be it games, music, social networking, or E-commerce, smartphone users prefer to access content via mobile apps. Apps are not only providing consumers a mobile-first access to content but are also enabling brands to converge advertising, distribution and transaction.

All this has led to a tremendous rise in the uptake of mobile apps in emerging markets. According to a recent report by AppAnnie, emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and Brazil are fueling the growth of the global app economy.

iOS and Google Play downloads CountrywiseThese markets are seeing the biggest growth in app downloads. Brazil topped the charts in terms of growth in app downloads, with a 100% growth between Q3 of 2013 and Q3 of 2014; followed by Indonesia with 70% growth; Mexico and Turkey on 60% respectively; and India growing by 30%. (Refer to graph: Combined iOS and Google Play Downloads by Country)

Furthermore, the number of app downloads on the Google Play Store are significantly higher than Apple’s App Store in emerging markets. According to the report, Google Play is seeing 60% more app downloads in comparison to Apple’s App Store in 2014 as opposed to 2013, where Google Play led Apple App Store in terms of app downloads by just 25%. (Refer to graph: App Downloads by Store Q3 2014)

App Downloads by StoreThis huge difference can be attributed to growing popularity of Android smartphones in emerging markets. A plethora of manufacturers are offering low cost Android smartphones in these markets which has led to an increase in the smartphone adoption and therefore the corresponding rise in app downloads on Google Play Store.

India, according to an IDC report, was the fastest growing market in Asia-Pacific smartphone shipments from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014, and this translated to a corresponding rise in Google Play downloads. India ranks number 3 on Google Play in terms of app downloads after US and Brazil. Android is inarguably the most popular OS platform today, and this is also evident from the fact that Google chose India as the launch pad for its low-cost smartphone initiative for emerging markets, AndroidOne.

Clearly, emerging markets such as India are fueling the global app economy today. While these markets are showing an incredible demand for global apps, there is also a demand for apps that deliver localized content waiting to be addressed. Close to 90 million Indians do not access content via internet because it is not available in a localized format. With increasing adoption of smartphones, mobile apps can successfully bridge this gap to provide these people their first internet experience.

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