India surges into mobile-app age with 770 crore downloads in 2016

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The country trails behind China, the United States and Brazil in the number of total apps downloaded per year.

Thanks to the introduction of affordable smartphones and a solid mobile infrastructure support, India's mobile market is emerging to become a force to reckon with.

The country is already the fourth largest mobile app economy, trailing behind China, the United States and Brazil in the number of total apps downloaded per year, according to data released by San Francisco-based App Annie.

The analytics company estimate the country's annual growth rate—in terms of downloaded apps— will touch 92% in 2016, with some 770 crore (7.7 billion) mobile apps forecast to be downloaded by the end of the year. In 2020, India is poised to reach 2,001.00 crore (20.1 billion) downloads of various apps.

In an interview with The Times of India, Junde Yu, MD of App Annie APAC, chalked up India's growth to the growing popularity of affordable mobile handsets as well as the country's improving infrastructure support. However, he stressed that what was driving India's app economy was not the revenue or the number of downloads, but the amount of time users spent using the apps.

Yu said close to 93% of Indians spent time on their apps, which debunks the popular perception that Indians like to spend more time on mobile browsers than mobile apps. In fact, local retail companies such as Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal saw their customers spend 11.5 times more time in-app in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2014, according to the analyst.

App Annie's previous report forecasts that India's app store downloads will grow by as much as 92% to reach 2,001.00 crore (20.1 billion) by 2020.

"India’s mobile economy has seen tremendous growth in the past two years, with mobile app downloads and time spent in-app more than doubling since Q1 2014," the company said. "With revenue and downloads on the line, developers are turning to innovation to stay a step ahead of competitors."

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