Indians spent 100 billion sessions shopping online in 2018; became YouTube's biggest audience

Indians spent 100 billion sessions shopping online in 2018; became YouTube's biggest audience

Thursday January 24, 2019,

3 min Read

With 4G data costing less than $2 a month, Indians are now spending billions of hours online, streaming videos, shopping and more, says the 2018 App Annie report.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the volume of video streamed on Indian smartphones grew 10-fold in the past three years. This makes India YouTube’s biggest audience in 2018, according to App Annie, an analytics company that tracks and ranks usage of apps. Looks like Indians love video streaming with the country leading the pack at a whopping 47 billion hours spent on the top five streaming apps, followed by Brazil with only 22 billion hours.

How did we get here? For one, 4G rates across the country have dropped to below $2 a month. This is spurring Indians to spend a lot of time on apps. According to App Annie, the country is inching closer to South Korea, China, the US and Japan in the number of apps downloaded per month. India stands at 68 apps, while the other countries stand at 100 apps downloaded per month.

In its quarterly reports, telecom giant Reliance Jio reported that its 280 million customers used an average of 10.8 GB of data per month. In fact, between October and December, 864 crore GB worth of wireless data was consumed over the Jio network. However, the average Indian still spends only around 2.5 hours a day on their phone while an average Indonesian spends over four hours on their phone daily.

App Annie

[Also read: Using your friend's Netflix account to binge on TV shows? This new AI tool may soon end that]

The app advantage

One of the results of India's accelerated internet usage growth is that global players including OTT services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are now rejigging their strategies to better suit the Indian audience. They are investing in local content, trying to foster more partnerships - all vying for the top spot.

The App Annie report adds that India saw an explosion of session growth in Food and Drink apps in 2018, up by 120 percent from 2016. This is fueled by both fast food apps (QSR — Quick Service Restaurants) and the rise of food delivery services. Smartphones have become the bridge between the physical and digital, enabling the brick-and-mortar food and drinks industry to build a strong — and growing — presence in an ever more digital world.

There’s more. In 2018, Indians spent more than 100 billion sessions shopping - the highest in the world, followed by the US at only over 60 billion. Not only are Indians leading the world when it comes to downloading fintech apps, but we’re also leading the pack in time spent on social communications apps. India spent over 110 billion hours on social and communication apps with WhatsApp Messenger being the most used app in this category, followed by Instagram and Facebook.

It is no wonder that almost every VC out there is talking about the next 500 million consumers coming from India. The new market with the new opportunities only means that entrepreneurs must go and build for the new India. The future is mobile.

[Also read: Netflix, Hotstar, Jio might soon regulate content on their own]

Update: This article has been updated to correct an error in a number.