The geopolitical climate of 2020 and the subsequent bans on Chinese apps helped Indian apps gain a larger chunk of the market, show data from a new report by AppsFlyer, a mobile marketing analytics firm, which is headquartered in San Francisco.
According to the report, the year 2020 saw a marginal decline in top apps from China, and Indian apps made for almost 40 percent of the app market in the country. The Chinese were still second in place on the overall list though.
“Yes, the Chinese share dropped because of the ban. But we have seen Indian companies taking a larger share year-on-year. In 2018, the share of Indian companies in the top 200 installs was about 37 percent,” Sanjay Trisal, Country Manager for AppsFlyer India explained. “Companies in India are creating products that are being used by Indian audiences. They are getting deeper into tier-2 and tier-3 segments. All of this got complimented by the geopolitical segment,” he added.
Entertainment and Gaming Apps Benefitted from Lockdown
While the pandemic led to significant drops in install numbers across a majority of verticals, it came as a boon for apps focused on gaming and entertainment. According to the report, OTT streaming players saw video consumption increase, mostly from the hinterland.
About 85 percent of the app installs came from Tier-2 and 3 cities in India, and while the metros accounted for the rest. The report also notes that focusing on regional content will be key to retaining users. “A lot of mobile app developers came up with offerings, which were vernacular in nature,” Trisal pointed out the experience of news short video, news, and even utility apps.
According to Trisal, there are several reasons for this growth in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. One is the increasing affordability of smartphone devices. Secondly, mobile literacy is far higher, especially in these cities. “You might not have a person who is necessary, let’s say, English, educated per se, but they know how to navigate to an app,” Trisal explained.
While iOS continues to have better retention, he added the problem is that it contributes only between two to five percent of the market. This is also the reason why iOS for advertisers and marketers remains the high segment market, given it has higher retention versus Android.
For the average app, overall retention rates across verticals fell this year by 12 percent, notes AppsFlyer. The biggest hit was shopping, food & drink and travel apps, which was expected given the pandemic and lockdown. While entertainment apps also saw a reduction in retention, it was likely due to the increase in competition as many more players entered the market.
It also took some time for the market to recover post the lockdown. Categories such as travel, shopping picked up again in September, and the pre-festive and festive seasons. The financial impact of the lockdown also meant that app marketers had to cut back on budgets, resulting in lower overall spend.