India has emerged as the fastest growing mobile internet market in the world in recent years. With more than a billion mobile subscribers, and an ever-growing mobile internet penetration, the country has become a poster child for mobile communications. Indians took to mobile applications with ease and eagerness.
What are Indians using their mobile for?
Accessing social media was the primary activity carried out using mobile phones. Users increasingly spent time on instant messaging and social networking apps. Meta's platforms, namely Instagram & Facebook, appeared to benefit significantly from the Tik Tok ban in the country, with Facebook being accessed via mobile phones by nearly all its users in India as of 2021. Besides staying connected, entertainment was on Indians' minds. With the extensive use of YouTube, a surge in the online video market - with advertisement-based and paid subscriptions also saw a significant market growth in recent years. Indigenous platforms such as Wynk Music and Gaana dominated the music streaming market, providing affordable alternatives to their global competitors. Mobile gaming was also a well-loved pastime, especially since the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from social media, the use of mobile shopping apps as well as mobile payments grew at a rapid pace in the country, especially after the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Huge advertising budgets from e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart not only created a buzz about mobile shopping among Indians, but also helped new players within the market establish their respective niche - ranging from food delivery services to travel and hospitality. The pandemic also resulted in more health conscious behavior arising among Indian consumers with a surge in fitness, mental health, and meditation app downloads.
Some of the biggest winners in recent years within the country’s app market were Ola cabs with the home advantage over Uber; Flipkart’s fashion retailer Myntra; TVoD leader Hotstar, and food delivery apps Zomato and Swiggy.
Monetizing mobile app success
With so much mobile activity in the country, major business deals and investments in the sector seem obvious. In April 2020, Facebook Inc. announced an investment of over five billion U.S. dollars in Reliance Jio, which is India’s biggest telecom operator. This gave the social media giant a 99.9 percent stake in the company along with access to Jio’s extensive mobile network and subscriber database in the country. In turn, the deal gives Reliance access to the 400-million-strong database of WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) and integrate its hyper local e-commerce business, JioMart, with the messaging application.
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