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Play Store Trends for India: Chinese invasion, downloads doubled

India has seen a huge surge in Internet usage over last 12 months and it is clearly reflected in the 3G Data being consumed across Telcos. I did a quick analysis of the 3G data usage pattern for 2 leading Telcos and the consumption has increased 2X since last year.

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My assumption is that trend would be similar with other Telcos too. It will be interesting to see the above graph four quarters from now, when Jio spreads its wings fully. I anticipate overall data consumption to grow 4X in next 1 year. Surprisingly, India saw some decline in the smartphone shipment in last 3 quarters as compared to the previous period

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However, this was still good enough to take India’s smartphone tally close to 200mn. As a result, the downloads on Play Store grew by almost 90%

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Source: Statista.com

While looking at the above data, I decided to analyze some behavioral trends on Play Store. The last 1 year has seen many new Chinese Apps ruling the Indian charts, which surprisingly include several News and content Apps, in addition to Utility Apps, which had always been their stronghold.

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Indian Apps seems to have lost some ground to Chinese Apps in the last 1 year

One very surprising fact from the graph below is how Games as a category has lost out to utilities in last 1 year.

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Games have always been very popular with smartphone users, so I was intrigued to see this trend. I don’t have definitive answers, but here is some high level hypothesis:

  1. Aggressive marketing by Utilities Apps from across the border may have stolen the limited disk space on low end phones.
  2. Reduced marketing by Global Games: India till 2014–15 was considered as the cheapest source of App Installs, which is no longer the case in 2016 thanks to 2/3x rise in CPCs/CPIs owing to large spends on Facebook and Google by Indian Apps.

However, there was one very big positive around Gaming. The chart below shows how Games now dominate “Top Grossing Apps”, and Games share has increased by 20% on an already higher base.

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Dating Apps have gained in last one year in addition to the Games

Continuing with “Top Grossing” analysis, one very striking data point is the single digit share of Made in India Apps. These Indian Apps consists of Teen Patti & some popular Music streaming Apps. Not even a single Indian “Casual” Game made the list. Are we still not developing quality games?

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Google recently made a slew of product announcements, including enhanced Wifi rollout, Youtube Offline, Data Saver for Chrome, 2G Compatibility for Play Store & lighter version of their Apps for India. This is part of their next billion initiative and they expect to add millions of new Internet users from India as a result of these initiatives. This will also bring many feature phones online giving rise to Mobile web traffic. Mobile web is already 4X of App traffic and it may maintain its lead.

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On the other hand, Jio with its lucrative data plans will surely add millions of meaningfully connected users. So video/music consumption is expected to grow manifold. Data consumption is expected to grow 4X with over 300mn smartphones at the end of 2017.

P.S. My analysis of Play Store excludes all Jio Apps which have recently captured top places in Play Store for not so organic reasons

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Reach out to me at dabbot@gmail.com or tag me on twitter.com/deepakabbot to share your views.

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