Study: The Untapped Mobile Opportunity in Rural India


The potential market for mobile apps in India is huge.

According to Data.ai, India was the world’s second largest market for app downloads in 2021 and is set to become the world’s fastest growing market this year.*

In 2020, Indian users spent 1.6 trillion hours on their mobile devices, and that year India accounted for 14% of all global app installs.*

For a population of 1.4 billion, that means India is a huge, fast-moving market – still largely unneeded by global brands.

Mobile usage study: How India uses its devices

To better understand how people in India use their mobile devices, we conducted a study Mobile usage behavior in IndiaAnalyzes over 300 mobile apps on our platform, each with an average monthly users of over 4 million users (see method below).

What we have discovered influences your strategy for reaching out to Indian consumers.

Some highlights from the study:

1. What are women gaining vertically?

Although the mobile market is dominated by men with an average app usage of 72% by men and 28% by women, Indian women outperform men in ecommerce app usage, accounting for 54% of all usage.

And women are increasingly using three verticals – namely, Education technology, social engagement, and fintech. Marketers of these key verticals have a great opportunity for women to personalize their campaigns and attract new users to their apps.

By comparison, the top app verticals used by men are gaming, travel and transportation, and media and entertainment.

2. Uninstall more

If app usage is high, Uninstall rate Similarly, growth has increased, especially in gaming apps (44%) and social engagement apps (46%).

At the other end of the spectrum are the apps that witness the lowest numbers Uninstall On-demand services were (21%), health and fitness (25%).

New user uninstall rate

Vertical Average

Uninstall rate% in one month

Average time (days) taken by 80% of these uninstalls Number of apps

Fintech 34% 9 38
Media and entertainment 35% 11 37
ECommerce 36% 12 33
Edutech 35% 11 24
Travel and transportation 29% 10 23
Health and wellness 25% 13 22
Gaming 44% 7 21
Social participation 46% 9 17
On Demand Services 21% 13 16
Food 32% 12 11

3. App Penetration: Rural vs. Urban India

But the biggest opportunity seems to be related to app penetration. Our mobile usage study shows that app penetration is 83.6% higher in urban centers than in rural areas.

The verticals of leading apps in rural areas are: education technology (19.2%), media and entertainment (17.7%), and fintech (17.7%).

The apps that received the lowest rates in rural areas were the Health and Fitness App (13.15%).

Already in urban areas, health and fitness, ecommerce and travel and transportation had the most app usage.

Rural vs. urban distribution across the vertical

Vertical Urban% Rural% Number of apps
ECommerce 85.47 14.53 13
Media and entertainment 72.23 17.77 12
Gaming 72.83 17.37 9
Fintech 62.22 17.78 8
Edutech 80.79 19.21 8
Travel and transportation 84.99 15.01 6
Health and wellness 6.75 13.15 5

Opportunities

What does this mean for your own mobile marketing strategies?

First, understand that apps are global. And even if you don’t think about actively reaching audiences in India, they may already be customers. Focus on building relationships with them. Encourage them to spread the word about your app Loyalty programs and rewards.

Second, if your app is in one of the high-usage categories in India, your brand has a tremendous opportunity to reach a huge audience there. Lots of education technology, entertainment and fintech apps are being used in rural areas. Urban areas are making huge use of health, ecommerce and travel. Down on you App marketing strategies. Find out what works for your audience so you can achieve more.

Third, if your app falls into a category that has a high percentage of male or female users, they have a chance to send gender-specific marketing communications ম messaging designed to resonate with the target audience’s interests and concerns.

Mobile study method

Our data science team has analyzed more than 300 mobile apps across different verticals, including an average monthly user base of over 4 million users. We have tried to understand the behavior of mobile usage and identify the trend of app usage across India.

Mobile usage behaviors were divided into: location (urban vs. rural), gender distribution across verticals (Fintech, Edutech, media and entertainment, health and fitness, travel and transportation, ecommerce, social engagement), engagement campaign response channels across different and Vertical, and uninstall the rate across that vertical.

The study analyzed 782 billion push notifications, 52 billion email and 10 billion in-app notifications to gain top insights.

Learn more

Easy with Mobile Marketing Expert Guidance

Posted on March 14, 2022



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