The massive digitisation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has catapulted India as a leading mobile-first consumer economy. The country accounted for around 14 per cent of the global app installs in 2020, according to a new report by mobile ad network InMobi.
The growth rate of app downloads in India (28 per cent year-on-year) was four times higher than the global average (7 per cent year-on-year), said the report titled ‘Marketing in the era of Mobile.’ In the first half of 2020 (H1 2020), India stood next only to Indonesia in terms of average time spent on mobile with a 37 per cent spike in usage.
“Several brands have pivoted admirably to meet their consumers’ demand. Whether it is embracing m-commerce, building click to mortar capabilities, or creating custom mobile experiences,” said Vasuta Agarwal, managing director, Asia Pacific, InMobi. “The clear demand for mobile-first services from consumers has laid the foundation for India’s app economy.”
The India mobile app economy witnessed a significant evolution in 2020. Several new categories of apps such as health and fitness, gaming and entertainment gained prominence. The other categories include long and short-form video content, hyperlocal delivery and learning and education.
“Covid-19 has caused a major shift in the way consumers think, feel, and act,” said Jayesh Ullattil, vice president and general manager for India at InMobi. “With market disruption dramatically shifting long-conditioned behaviour in just a matter of weeks, digital has become the first prerogative in the way consumers choose to interact with the world.”
From January to April in 2020, Indians spent on entertainment apps grew by over 22 per cent. This resulted in a growth of around 47 per cent in OTT (over-the-top) subscription and over 26 per cent growth in revenue. Interestingly, from the first wave of lockdown between March to mid-April, digital payment apps saw a surge of over 42 per cent in usage as compared to the pre-lockdown period.
The mobile gaming industry has seen a massive surge in 2020. India is now home to 1 out 10 of the world’s gamers and is poised to become one of the top mobile gaming markets in APAC (Asia-Pacific) region. As consumers took to gaming during the pandemic, India also recorded the highest growth in the number of games played each month by the average user. Democratized by smartphones, gaming is no longer a multi-player role-playing arena for young Indians. InMobi’s study reveals that gaming is equally popular among consumers between the age of 45 to 54 years.
The report said that vernacular language content has played a critical role in empowering both content creators and consumers. Users are consuming content across a wide variety of genres. These include news, food, health and fitness or entertainment, accounting for an average of 40 viewing minutes per day.
Indians are using their mobile to learn, explore and buy when it comes to shopping. According to a consumer survey by InMobi during Aug and September 2020, 63 per cent of respondents claimed that they used their mobile to learn about and discover new products. About 77 per cent of respondents used mobile to research and explore, and 62 per cent to make purchases. The survey also reveals that while consumers are not completely averse to in-store visits in the new normal, they seek a seamless experience. This involves mobile discovery/ and booking and subsequent pick-ups in store.
Globally, there has been a significant increase in app downloads, the time spent on mobile, and consumer mobile spending. 2020 saw the addition of 321 million new internet users worldwide and a 25 per cent spike in app downloads in H1 2020 as compared to H2 2019. Global spending in app stores amounted to over $143 billion in the year 2020. Catapulted by the pandemic, consumers across the globe spent on an average 4.2 hours per day just in the month of April 2020 while overall around 1.6 trillion hours were spent on mobile in H1 2020.