India ranks second in the world when it comes to mobile app downloads, overtaking the US and only behind China. But when it comes to spending money on apps India slides all the way down to rank 30, according to App Annie’s 2017 Retrospective Report.

The report which takes a broad look at the global app economy mentions that globally there’s been a 60% growth in the number of app downloads with downloads exceeding 175 billion. Consumer spending has more than doubled from 2015 and exceeded $86 Bn.

More than a third of that $86 billion comes from China ($33.1 billion). In fact, our neighbour to the north comes out on top on all key metrics; total downloads, monetisation (money spent) and engagement (time spent).

India’s app economy

With 215% growth in app downloads compared to 2015 India overtook the US as the second biggest downloader of apps. The report attributes this growth to “introduction of subsidised, unlimited 4G access by Jio in September 2016.”

Despite ranking 30th, consumer spending on apps on iOS and Android grew to $210 million in India, a 110% growth from 2015. Still, the number pales in comparison to China or the US, app makers are yet to figure out how to make Indians pay to use their products.

The report also mentions that with the increasing usage of finance apps in India. The report refers to 2016’s demonetisation step and the suggests arrival of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has led to the growth of payments apps. Paytm maintains a strong position, with over 30% usage penetration among Android phone users in the country in 2017, the report adds.

WhatsApp comes out on top, pipping its parent company’s flagship app, Facebook, when it comes to monthly active users across both Android and iOS devices. On last count, WhatsApp had over 200 million monthly active users in India. Facebook’s Messenger app take the third spot for a 1-2-3 podium finish for apps made by the Menlo Park giant.

But Facebook’s app is on top, one rank ahead of Whatsapp when counting the number of downloads in 2017 across Android and iOS.

On the consumer spending front, Netflix is ranked first, helped probably by its relatively pricey subscriptions starting at Rs 500. Dating app Tinder comes in second (showing that Indians are willing to spend for both cinema and love).

Netflix’s number may have been helped by the fact that video streaming on smartphones grew 600% since the first half of 2016. The report attributes this growth to the introduction of Jio’s 4G service and other carriers offering cheap/unlimited data packs.

And finally, driven by the US’s affinity for iPhones and the Chinese government’s internet blocks, India is the top downloader on Google’s Play store.

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