India is one of the biggest mobile markets in the world in terms of the sheer mobile penetration and the fact that mobile has turned to be the first device for a significant number of Indian audiences to access the internet. Mobile gaming too is a phenomenon catching up in India. Mobile games and applications in India are expected to be INR 2,700-crore market by 2016, driven by strong smartphone growth and expanding 3G user-base. As per recorded data, more than 50 per cent of mobile internet traffic and paid content revenues come from smartphones, dominated by Google and Apple app stores. However, the paid apps market in India is worth about INR 300 crore in 2012.
India secured third position globally, in terms of number of downloads from Google Play Store, according to App Annie Index for 2013. However, it does not figure in the top 10 countries in terms of revenue generated from apps. Games and image-based apps saw a global rise in adoption.
“Monetisation of apps will be a natural transition starts once the market matures. Most of Indians are using apps for the first time hence will only be using the free apps, free games. However as their usage grows and matures, so will monetisation, as has been the trend in the developed markets,” said Sandipan Mitra, Director Sales and Marketing, Justeat.in, a company specialising in food delivery in India, which also developed an app for the same.
However, marketers are betting big on apps, and are constantly on the lookout of engagement measures via gamification and image-based apps. Interestingly, these trends showed an upward increase among users globally, as per the App Annie Index. The industry is confident that as the market matures, monetisation of such apps too would see a rise.
Gamification gets serious
According to App Annie’s report, Google Play led the iOS app store in terms of downloads by over 15 per cent in 2013, however iOS apps however made twice as much money as Google Play apps. Games continued to be the most popular category in iOS and Google Play Store combined in terms of downloads, followed by Entertainment and Photo and Video apps.
This puts gamification as a serious investment by marketers. In India, most brands have embraced this platform of user engagement. For instance, global hospitality major, Marriott, developed a gaming concept similar to the popular Farmville. Cosmetics brand L’Oreal is another company developed ‘L’Oreal Reveal’ for business management aspirants. The report also states that games continued to top the chart in terms of revenue as well, which means that the app monetisation code for games has been cracked.
Photo-driven apps gain traction
Instagram emerged as the most popular photo and video sharing app in terms of downloads ahead of YouTube, as per App Annie’s report. However, it needs to be noted that this report only looks at the number of downloads from Play Store and YouTube comes pre-installed in all Google approved Android devices. Snapchat, Vine and LINE Camera came in at third, fourth and fifth respectively. “The app industry is tapping the multi-devices where apps can be accessible across all the platforms (iOS , Android, smart TVs and every other gadget) to make it as convenient for the consumer; apps ability to sync the data offline and providing new and innovative content,” pointed out Prakash Ramchandani, India CEO, Spuul.com, that has developed a video streaming app in India.
This again offers marketers an instant connect with users. Brands are adopting innovative measures to use image-driven data. “Photo sharing applications can be used in multiple ways by the marketers such as product demos, highlighting special offers and events, product differentiation and enhanced engagements,” summarised Subhasish Phukan, Senior Research Analyst, MarketsandMarkets India. Downloads of photo and video apps, including photo editing apps have increased by 55 per cent from 2012.
“E-commerce companies are happy to note that photo sharing apps are gaining traction because we have a fundamentally visual platform for consumer engagement. Visual carries best on a mobile device and photo sharing, as consumer behaviour, is a very high enabler. We feel (and stats have proven this) that anything text heavy is easily trumped by anything that is visual heavy. Photo sharing apps are also important to overcome the vernacular divide in India. Therefore, brands that promote visual content online can benefit hugely out of this trend,” remarked Suchi Mukherjee, CEO & Co Founder, LimeRoad.com, a fashion e-commerce company in India, which plans to launch an m-commerce app soon.
App Annie also stated that Brazil, Russia, India and China have made noticeable gains on app store superpowers such as US and UK in terms of downloads, setting the stage for potential strong future growth. Downloads from BRIC countries have increased by 1.8 times and revenues increased by 2.7 times.