India in three charts: Installs, sessions, and retention rates
India has established itself as a major player in the global mobile app market, generating a total revenue of US$1.6 billion in 2022. This growth can be attributed to a rapidly expanding smartphone user base and increasing internet connectivity. As of 2022, 66% of India's population owns a smartphone, and the country has over 930 million mobile internet users, making it the second-largest online market in the world. With more than 28 billion app downloads in 2022, India is also the second-largest market in terms of app downloads, offering a lucrative opportunity for app developers and marketers. Additionally, Indians are highly engaged users, spending an average of 4.7 hours daily on mobile apps.
According to Adjust data, app installs and sessions increased by 6% and 22% in 2022, bucking global trends. This growth has continued into 2023, with January installs 2% higher than the Q4 2022 average. To provide marketers with an overview of how apps are performing in India, we examine the top app verticals with the highest downloads, session growth, and best retention rates.
Mobile gaming reigns supreme in India
Apptopia data revealed that mobile games were India’s most downloaded app category in 2022, with over seven billion downloads across all platforms. Utility apps took second place with over a billion downloads, followed by shopping, social network, and communication apps. For iOS, the ranking was slightly different, with photography coming in second, followed by fintech, utilities, and shopping.
Session uptick for shopping, communication, and fintech apps in 2022
Communication app sessions experienced a significant year-over-year (YoY) growth of 124% in 2022. App installs also increased by 4% from 2021 to 2022. India's mobile-first culture has resulted in the exponential growth of messaging apps. One of the most popular communication apps is WhatsApp, with over 480 million users, making India WhatsApp's biggest market. Interestingly, India has more WhatsApp users than social media users (467 million). Meta has expanded its offerings in India due to its extensive user base. The Indian government collaborated with Meta in May 2022 to develop a method for verifying digital documents via WhatsApp.
Fintech apps also saw notable growth in 2022 as sessions surged 30% YoY. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing adoption of digital payment methods and the government's push for financial inclusion with initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (Prime Minister's Public Finance Scheme). With the continued expansion of India's internet infrastructure through campaigns like Digital India, fintech apps are expected to continue to see significant growth in the Indian market.
Mobile gaming has become popular in India due to the increasing availability of affordable smartphones and mobile data plans. The number of mobile gamers in India reached over 193 million in 2022, which is expected to grow to 209 million by the end of 2023. Additionally, the revenue from mobile gaming is expected to reach $580 million by 2023. Contrary to global trends of degrowth, mobile gaming sessions in India rose 4% YoY in 2022. Our data also suggests that mobile gaming in India is here to stay in 2023, with January installs and sessions 4% and 1% higher than the Q4 2022 average.
India ranks eighth in the world when it comes to the size of its e-commerce industry, and it is expected to generate more than $71 billion in revenue by 2023. Some of the top shopping apps in India include Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Paytm Mall, and Snapdeal. In 2022, Indians spent 8.7 billion hours using shopping apps, up 16% from 7.5 billion hours in 2021. As shopping apps provide a wide range of products at a lower price than traditional stores, users are increasingly spending their time on them. Adjust data also shows that shopping app sessions in India skyrocketed in 2022, increasing by a massive 204% YoY. Installs also surged by an impressive 43% YoY. The trend has continued in 2023, with sessions and installs growing by 112% and 29% YoY in Q1 2023.
While social media apps are top-rated and widely used in India, our data indicates that app sessions decreased by 61% in 2022. This is perhaps due to the significant shift in the landscape, with new regulations impacting how users interact with social media apps. However, homegrown apps such as Koo, a microblogging and social networking platform, have witnessed an increase in users and engagement.
Utility apps saw a session growth of 22% YoY in 2022. App installs also grew by 29%. With the rise of digitalization in India, utility apps have become an integral part of the daily routine for millions of people, making their lives easier and more efficient.
Gaming and communication apps have the highest retention rates
In Q4 2022, mobile games had the highest Day 1 retention rate of 28%, with communication apps following closely behind at 20%. Social networking and fintech apps had a retention rate of 16%, while utility apps had a slightly lower rate of 15%. Shopping apps had the lowest Day 1 retention rate at 9%. These figures are a little low compared to the global medians, demonstrating a large opportunity for marketers in the region to improve their LTV-focused campaigns and bring them into balance with UA.
India’s mobile app market is set to experience tremendous growth in 2023, making it an attractive destination for app developers and marketers. However, the competition is fierce. To stand out, app marketers need to employ a robust strategy that will resonate with the Indian audience. One key area is to focus on localization. India is a diverse country with many different languages and cultures, so adapting your app to local customs and languages can make it more appealing to users. Additionally, offering payment options that Indians prefer, such as mobile wallets and unified payments interface (UPI), can help you increase your revenue, as many Indian users do not have credit cards.
Ready to grow your app business? Schedule your personalized demo with Adjust now to see firsthand how Adjust's mobile analytics suite will help you measure and optimize your marketing campaigns. And keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming ebook, where we dive into the app market in India and Southeast Asia.
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