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Which are the most popular Indian apps? Here is what we found

Subodh Kolhe & Manu Shrivastava
posted on 17th December 2014
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India has 100 million users of mobile data and this year has witnessed a huge jump in the number of Indian apps in the app stores. Earlier this year, a survey by Ericsson Consumer Labs showed that Indian spend an average of three hours a day on their smart phones and check their phone more than 100 times a day. If nothing else, it is a ringing endorsement of the hold that smart phones have on the Indian psyche. We, at YourStory, ran a survey among our readers to examine the most used Indian apps on their phones. We surveyed a wider audience (3948 people) across social media to understand user behavior patterns in smartphone usage in India.

Read more : 90% of world's population will have a mobile phone by 2020

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Messaging has become an integral part of modern day lifestyle and Hike Messenger has clearly led the trend. With its localization focused stickers and better user acquisition strategies, Hike has been remarkable doing well since the past few months inspite the growth of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Telegram.

Its user base has rose to 35 million in 1.5 years since its launch making Hike one of the fastest growing mobile applications from India. The company went from 5 to 15M users in 9 months and the added to its base, the next 5M in just 3 short months.

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Indians also appear to be doing lot of shopping on mobile. The top e-commerce sites have said that nearly a third of their sales are through their mobile apps. Convenience of browsing through products, simplified payment methods and synced profiles across platforms are the real drivers behind this shift from desktop to mobile. Changing trends in modern day lifestyle are fueling e-commerce and we expect mobile to play a bigger role in online sales.

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m-indicator, a Mumbai-based app has also made it to our top 20. Not only does it cater to the most populous metro in the country but also it’s almost a lifeline for people living there. This is a great opportunity that m-indicator has been able to capture and solve various problems with a single app. Other cities lack such localization solutions, presenting an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs and developers.

Mobile money and wallets are still relatively new to Indian users. Still, payment apps PayTm and Mobikwik feature in our top 20, with PayTm coming in second after Hike. A large part of this is because of its exclusive tie-up with Uber, after Uber was banned from accepting credit card payments in India.

Paytm has aso been adding more merchants daily with a marketplace of its own. Followed by cash back offers to attract more users and better integration, PayTm has emerged as the largest player in mobile wallets in India as of today. Their moves have been exceptional and well timed. Other players operating in this domain are Mobikwik, Citrus, zipcash, etc.

Read more : Payment Banks and the opportunity it poses for Indian mobile wallet startups

Music has always been special mobile category. The presence of Gaana and Saavn in our list is a testimony to the fact that more and more users are streaming music online and avoiding storing music on their smartphones. Many of the recent cheaper phones come without external storage support, which could be fueling online music streaming on mobile devices.

Another interesting category that's emerged over the last 2 years is cab aggregators. Ola has been the market leader with more than 60% market share followed by Taxiforsure and other radio cab operators including the likes of Meru, Tab, Airport Taxis, etc. San Francisco based Uber also has a significant market share in the country but its been facing a lot of backlashes from round the globe for their lack of ethics. The survey chart does reflect an almost true picture of the projected shares of these players in the market.

Finally Bookmyshow and Zomato are the unicorns in the consumer internet domains and have become almost a must-have on most phone. While Bookmyshow has no big competitors, Burrp and Times City have been trying hard to overtake Zomato that has moved on to international markets now.

News and information is yet another big driver of mobile usage. The dominance of NewsHunt and News in Shorts for news and CricBuzz and Cricinfo are clear indictors from our survey. According to the 2001 Census, 30 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers. Of the literate 74%, only 10% read English while the rest consume content in the vernacular medium. A big opportunity for developers to build apps to provide local content to everyone in the mobile-first country.

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These charts clearly show indications of what seems to be working in India. Increasing smartphone penetrations coupled with better Internet network outreach initiatives; there is an opportunity for developers to build apps to cater this new regional audience. As more and more apps are moving towards making the economy cashless, people have started to actively use mobile wallets as preferred mode of payments.

Read more : Which apps do people use in Mumbai?

The transactions volume via m-wallet has had more than 3x growth in the last two years, which cloaked over Rs 2,700 crore, according to CRISIL.  Payment Banks appears to be in the best interest of wallet operators in India to enable the mobile economy by allowing anyone with a mobile phone to pay, buy, bank, and remit money.  The contender startups in the space are Paytm, MobiKwik, and Oxygen etc. Already telecoms offer wallet services like Vodafone’s M-Pesa, and Airtel Money etc.

Are there other Indian apps that should have been here? What are your favourite Indian apps? Let us know in the comments below.

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