Will India make it to an app superpower?

Over the past few years, Asian region especially China and India, have witnessed increased mobile app consumption on platforms such as Android, iOS, Symbian and the new Windows 8.

The continuous increase in internet penetration, growing mobile usage, availability of cheaper smartphones and internet data plans in India still adding to its position as one of the upcoming hotspots in the International app markets.

The Indian outlook for mobile devices and mobile internet is changing fast, and how will this shape up the app market can be analyzed as follows.

India vs Global outlook

If we take a global outlook first, the total mobile applications market has reached $25 billion in 2013 from about $6.8 billion in 2010. Also, according to industry estimates, Global app downloads are forecast to become more than triple to 109 billion by 2015 from around 31 billion currently.

App downloads in India are expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 75-80% till 2015 to about 9 billion from around 1.56 billion currently. However, app downloads in India are estimated to account for less than 5% of global app downloads.

Where is the gap?

  • Globally, app revenues are estimated to be $20 billion. But in India, users are still reluctant to pay for apps.

  • In comparison to Chinese app ecosystem which is expected to reach $1.2 billion this year, Indian app market was valued at around $150 million in 2012.

  • Business models based on  In-app purchases are still not taking off, thus creating a gap in mobile app monetization.and generating low revenues for mobile app developers.

  • Also, more than 80% of the apps downloaded in India are global apps, creating a challenge for the local app developers to make money through app development.

  • Another gap lies in understanding of the smartphone capabilities, affordability and required data infrastructure, in terms of downloading the required app.

Factors driving India to be an app superpower

With all this negative plethora, India is still considered to be rising as a potential superpower amongst the asian countries and apps are taking an important place in both consumer and business community with Indian mobile ecosystem on rise.

There are various factors which leads to the development of app business in any country. Some of these leading India as an app superpower are:

  1. Rise in smartphones shipment: According to the latest reports, by 2016 India will receive almost every tenth smartphone in the world, becoming the third largest market after Brazil and UK for smartphone shipments. Also, the global market share will increase from current 2.9% to 9.3% in 2016. Also as per a recent report by Strategy Analytics, India is now the world’s third largest smartphone market after China and US, leaving behind Japan.

  1. Increased activity in App developer culture: India is considered to have one of the largest app developer communities. With the increasing internet penetration and growing interest in mobile apps, the upcoming app developers are not only preparing app for clients but are also making individual app products. The recent participation of 25000 app developers in Windows 8 App Fest by Microsoft in Bangalore is an example for this.

  1. Apps can solve Indian problems: Considering the fact that, 52% of the mobile app audience comes from an age group of 18-24, the mobile apps have gained a utility feature adding to the lives of people. There are apps catering to almost every need of people whether it is getting any info, paying bills, mobile games, chatting with friends, and many more. Apps like Hanuman Chalisa seems really apt for a religious country like India.

  1. The volume game in India: As we know India as one of the biggest consumer markets in the world, though with a high economic inequality. Still the market penetration of mobile devices seems to be on a higher side with more than 862.62 Mn wireless subscribers according to TRAI. This gap coupled with increasing spending capabilities of users and youth population will further add on to the volume game which India has to offer in future for mobile app sector.

Some recent facts about the Indian app ecosystem:

  1. There are 67 million smartphone subscribers in India, growing at the rate of 52% YoY.

  2. Indians are the third largest group using Google Play and the second largest Android developer community in the world.

  3. A GB of data costs less than $1 in the country and there are more than 100 handsets priced under $100.

  4. 11 per cent of the mobile app audience in India is women, with 52 per cent of app users aged 18-24 and a further 29 per cent aged 25-35.

  5. India is considered to be one of the top ranking countries across App stores such as Google Play(Rank 3), Nokia (Rank 1), Slide me(Rank 1), and Mobango(Rank 1).


Growing leaps and bounds, India presents an opportunity for more app studios to tap the Indian market with experience and innovative approach. There is enough talent available to set up base in India and also to aim for the growing community of users willing to pay or consume apps can be a good strategy to test the waters.

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    Gartner says that revenues from mobile ecommerce will grow to half of U.S. digital commerce revenue by 2017. Similar trend will catch up rest of the world fairly quickly. Top Mcommerce app development companies like mobileapptelligence are working on framework based, quick to deploy apps for retail clients

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