India’s app economy is maturing at a rapid pace. Even though China is still the largest market globally considering usage and revenue, and American developers being the most innovative, India is now the top country worldwide in terms of volume of apps installed and used monthly. The Indian app ecosystem is spearheaded by the telecom giants Jio and Airtel.
Streaming apps like Novi Digital and JioSaavn, digital payment portals such as Paytm and PhonePe, and eCommerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon have firmly established themselves in the global market.
India became the biggest app download market in 2019 with more than 20 billion downloads and over 10% of global app installs (1).
Even though the numbers for 2020 are not released yet, estimates suggest that the country would continue to lead other countries in terms of app downloads considering its enormous smartphone population and surging internet penetration.
While there are strong growth indicators, the events of 2020 have brought an unprecedented event that shook India’s app economy; the Indian government banning hundreds of Chinese apps due to national security concerns.
TikTok, India’s most downloaded app in 2020 and a socio-cultural phenomenon, was also hit by the ban (2). The impact was so high that local developers spent the first half of the year launching alternatives to China-based apps (3).
Day by day, the echoes of Made in India, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, and Vocal for Local grew louder by the day. Moreover, TikTok’s absence spawned an industry of short-video apps. Apps focused on the requirements of a pandemic perpetrated world also emerged: from online learning, causal gaming, stock trading to podcasting, mental health assistants, and job search.
This article will focus on all the key trends of 2020 considering the Indian app economy, including best android app, top used apps, top Indian apps list, and Indian app market statistics.
Indian App Market Statistics 2020
There are over 27,626 Indian publishers on Google play out of all 916,745 apps. Some of the biggest Indian publishers are Gametion Technologies Private Limited, Words Mobile, Games2win.com, Moonton, Nazara Games, Moonfrog, Million Games, Timus Games, Rendered Ideas, and Nextwave Multimedia. In short, more than 3% of all app publishers on Google play are from India.
Out of 2,984,089 apps on Google play, more than 135,957 apps are from Indian publishers. Apps with the most download of Indian publishers, Moj, FlipKart, Truecaller, PhonePe, ALTBalaji, Wynk Music, ShareChat, Snake Video, AJIO, and JioSaavn. These are some of the best apps from Indian publishers. Overall, 5% of all apps on Google play are from Indian publishers.
The average rating of apps from Indian publishers on Google play is 3.72 out of 5 stars. It is better than the overall average rating of all apps, which is 3.35. Notably, apps from Indian publishers on Google play have an average of 2,026 ratings, which is higher than the average number of all apps’ ratings, which is 1,207 ratings.
If we talked about the focus of Indian publishers on apps and games, according to statistics, 88% of released applications are apps, 12% are games. Compared to the global market, Indian publishers focus more on apps with 88% release than global publishers that focus 87% on apps.
As per statistics, Indian publishers also get more downloads than the average of all apps, with 182.75k downloads compared to overall 165.85K downloads.
It is worth highlighting that only 5% of Indian publishers are paid. However, it is still a higher value of paid apps than the overall app market, where only 3% are paid (4).
Now let’s take a look at the top 10 apps in India.
The Top 10 Apps in India
1. Google Classroom
Downloads of Google Classroom surged with the COVID-19 on-going pandemic, and resultant lockdown forced schools to shut-down in March-end (5). It then climbed to be one of the tops used apps in all app stores’ education category.
By mid-April, it soon became Indias’s top learning platform going past home-grown apps such as BYJU’s, Toppr, Vedantu, and others. Google Classroom mimics an offline classroom-like environment virtually and enables schools and entire curriculums to turn digital. It was further popularized when Delhi University moved all its courses on the platform soon after the lockdown.
Google Classroom is the outcome of Google bundling Calendar, Drive, Gmail, and other services into something more manageable for educators to use. It targets teachers and students for both K-12 and higher education markets.
One of the app’s biggest benefits is that it is simple to use and enables collaborations between teachers and students. On the platforms, teachers can create a class and list educational apps like assignments in a few clicks. They can add students by name or send them codes to join. Simultaneously, students can see their assignments, due dates, participate in discussions, and message their teachers privately or via group chat.
Easy interaction and seamless connectivity are among other features that have made Google Classroom one of the most favorite apps among students and educators (6).
2. Ludo King
The sensational rise of Ludo King (7) during the lockdown will go down as one of the defining moments of the Indian internet in the current year. The home-grown casual board game was top on the app charts and became India’s most downloaded gaming app with 500 million installs till December of all time.
Gametion Technologies, a Mumbai-based startup, developed Ludo King, which became a quarantine sensation. It adds a contemporary tactility to the royal game; Pachisi (8) raked in revenues of 300,000 USD in March alone riding during the lockdown as people were looking for at-home recreational options.
The rise also indicates the return of casual games, with Ludo King becoming one of the best apps in the online gaming segments in 2020.
Far apart from other games that require agility and practice to level up, Ludo King is a breath of fresh air. Ludo King is made to sit down and relax with family. With the ban of PUBG and other Chinese apps, people contemplated the ban of Ludo King, too, unaware that it is indeed a home-grown app.
The trend of casual games is setting up with the current stressed lifestyle, lack of personal interaction, and the need to socialize. It reveals the rising popularity of casual games like Ludo King that reverberates with the majority gaming population’s interests.
The Indian Gaming Industry will get an impulse in the next five years and hit 3.75 billion USD because of the booming digital infrastructure and internet penetration.
The ban of Tiktok, a defining event in the Indian app universe in 2020, spawned an entire industry of its alternatives. Mitron (9) hailed as the country’s answer to TikTok rose rapidly, and clocked more than five million downloads within a month of its launch. It broke into the top Indian apps list and the top 10 free apps on Google Play Store by the end of May.
Subsequently, it secured two funding rounds from 3One4, Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and LetsVenture.
Mitron allows users to upload or record short videos, add effects, and browse through entertaining content without even creating an account.
It has been rapidly upgrading itself with several enhancements for its users, including an easy video uploading process, an enhanced audio library offering a huge range of Indian content, and a feature that easily allows users to flag any inappropriate content.
It is an Indian made clone of Tiktok developed by IIT Roorkee student Shivank Agarwal. While TikTok struggles to get back in the good books of the Indian government, Mitron is an alternative that could become its rival and emerge as a winner.
However, its growth would depend on user experience improvement and how it would tackle the bugs. It would also need to come up with encrypted security for its users. Regardless, it has a high chance to reach more audiences in the foreseeable future with its current growth pace (10).
The Indian government banning Chinese apps, and Narendra Modi, the honorable Prime Minister of India’s clarion call for self-reliance, Aatmanirbhar Bharat Innovation triggered the growth of Made in India applications across categories. An Indian app MagTapp soon emerged as a compelling alternative to the banned UC Browser application.
MagTapp (11), derived from the magical tap, is a web browser with an inbuilt image dictionary, content translator across 12 Indian languages, and universal document reader. It claims to be the first visual browser worldwide and has notched more than five million downloads soon after launch. It aims to become an empowerment tool for hundreds of millions of non-English Indian speakers.
A team of Satyapal Chandra, Rohan Singh, Sagar Malhotra, Abhishek Singh, and Ashish Virkar developed the web browser. So far, the app has been proving to be far better than UC Browser.
It is a unique application with a visual browser and visual document reader, consisting of a visual dictionary, translation, and e-learning features. It has been specifically designed to remove the language barrier. Anyone with difficulty while reading English content on their phone can tap on the word by long-pressing it, and the visual meaning of that word appears instantly.
Since the best of the internet’s information is in English, it translates any word, sentence, and even an entire paragraph into 12 native Indian languages, including Hindi and 30 other international languages.
5. Kaagaz Scanner
Kaagaz Scanner (12) is another gainer of the Chinese application ban. Interestingly, it was put together almost overnight by a few IITians. It soon became an aatmanirbhar bharat alternative to the popularly used CamScanner app.
Kaagaz Scanner operates like a smart personal assistant. It helps users organize notes, reminders, classifying personal documents, making business cards, etc., along with serving its key purpose, scanning documents, and PDFs using the phone camera.
Within only 2.5 months of its launch, Kaagaz Scanner has been used to scan more than 18 million pages.
According to the company statement, it has been installed on more than one million phones since its launch. The app developers are now planning to bring more features to make it more useful. It includes an AI-powered document organizer.
Notably, it is a feature that’s missing in the majority of the competitor apps. The developers are also planning to add customer watermark and regional language options to make it more accessible (13).
Unacademy, a newly minted edtech unicorn, wants to disrupt books with its interactive storytelling platform Graphy. It was launched in June, and news elements like video images, audio, and quizzes to create a mobile-first learning experience.
Graphy invites creators, also known as Graphers, such as business leaders, artists, authors, entrepreneurs, comedians, and sports coaches, to curate their best ideas, stories, and experience on the platform. Its Instagram stories, like vertical format, enable users to play characters in an episodic manner. It has crossed 100,000 downloads and is set to disrupt the creative learning market (14).
On Graphy, users can access interactive and immersive videos where experts present engaging and dynamic content on a range of different subjects from photography to public speaking and everything in between. It is undoubtedly an impressive service, and those with a keen interest in self-development may be interested in the courses it offers.
Graphy would be a productive use of users’ time, and courses provide a fun and engaging way to learn. It has already roped in a bunch of celebrities as graphics on the platform. Other comedians like Tanmay Bhat are also creating Graphy originals.
All Graphs are paid offerings. Each of them includes a graph for bio short video promotion and chapter wise breakdown. The content prices started at 199 INR and can go up to 3000 INR or further depending on the topic, video duration, and Graphers credentials. However, there are no trial chapters available as of now.
It is an interesting and well-time product with the pandemic bringing paradigm shifts in content consumption and delivery. Graphy is set to gain immensely because Unacademy has a captive userbase, distribution, and investor’s muscle (15).
Khabri, an Indian podcasting app (16), is riding on the country’s vernacular audio boom. The Made in India audio platform focuses on the next billion internet users and offer Hindi audio content in a range of categories such as news, knowledge, current affairs, government jobs, devotion, books, motivation, movies, and more.
Khabri also allows content creators to launch original podcasts and feature them on the platform. Users can also listen to popular regional language radio stations. It has the backing of Y Combinator, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal; the founders of Snapdeal, Rajesh Sawhney; GSF Accelerator, and a cohort of prominent angels.
The digital audio platform has seen 350% growth during the lockdown months with its MAU, Monthly Active Users growing by seven lakh during the same period with more than one million downloads.
It is great for users who like to listen to news, motivation, stories, poems, music, and their favorite celebrity. It offers a great opportunity to learn something new every day while doing your everyday jobs and tasks.
In a nutshell, it offers news to current events, information, entertainment with bytes offers by users on the grounds for listeners without access to the same in their vernacular.
Soon after WHO, the World Health Organization announced that it is essential to look after our mental health in a socially distanced world. Several users took mental health applications to cope with stress-induced by pandemic and anxiety, insomnia, grief, and depression (17).
Wysa (18) is a personalized mental health application that offers an AI-powered chatbot therapist. Notably, it has gained huge downloads and engagement.
Its mental health toolkit is available in more than 30 countries, and it is claimed to have benefited more than 1.2 million people. Many therapists, life coaches, and AI experts have designed the app to become users’ emotional health buddy and well-being tracker during these incredibly difficult times.
Wysa has reinvented self-help with an AI-backed bot or a virtual coach that combines empathetic listening with CBT, motivational interviewing, meditation. Notably, these are evidence-based therapeutic techniques.
In addition to free chatbot access, Wysa also offers premium plans which include services like guided-positivity exercises, calming methods, yoga routines, mindfulness, and a personal coach.
Compared to walk-in therapy sessions, which costs about 800 to 1,000 INR for every 60-minute session, the Wysa Coach is accessible at 1,900 per month. Under this plan, a user gets access to one to two therapy sessions of 30 to 45 minutes every week.
According to market analysts, the commercial use of AI in the healthcare market is expected to reach 365.1 billion USD by 2025, with a CAGR of 50.2%. Moreover, as per IBEF estimates, India’s healthcare market will be valued at 373 billion USD by 2022.
The surge in online stockbroking is one of the top trends of 2020. As the Indian currency, the rupee continues to deteriorate and the economic uncertainty gripping people, India increasingly sees value in stocks. Consequently, several trading apps are observing record usage.
Kite, a platform developed by Zerodha (19), leads the pack with ranking consistently among India’s top five finance applications.
Kite is built for modern and millennial traders with speed, simplicity, and zero latency trading for first-time users. It enables users to buy, sell, analyze, and manage their portfolios. Kite users can also invest in IPOs with a few taps.
Zerodha’s Kite easy to use with optimal user experience, performance, and features. It aims to cater to both day traders and passive investors. However, it may not be easy to understand the app’s different features and navigation for a beginner level trader.
Regardless, Kite is a modernly designed online trading platform. It is built using advanced technology to meet the needs of all types of investors. It offers a range of features like data widgets, integration with third party apps, charting tools to make trading easy and fast.
Another beneficiary of the country’s stockbroking surge is the Groww app (20). Harsh Jain, the former Flipkart executive, founded the app. It helps people grow their wealth by investing in mutual funds, stocks, and gold at a nominal brokerage fee.
It comes with a mutual fund SIP calculator that helps users estimate the returns on investment over time. Groww app allows users to open accounts with a one-time e-KYC paperless procedure. Users need to upload their key personal details such as PAN, Aadhar id, and photo.
It is among India’s top downloaded and best apps in the trading segment. Unlike the Kite app, Groww focuses on first-time investors and millennials with its easy to use navigation. It aims to make investing easy and smart for the young generation and democratize wealth creation.
Moreover, Groww also offers all the required resources an investor may need to conduct in-depth stock research. It includes information about the company’s finance, peer comparison, live market activity, shareholding pattern, and much more.
The country is witnessing increased retail investors’ participation in the financial market, with new stock market investors adding up (21). And Groww has established itself as one of India’s most promising online investment app via a brand culture to cater to customer convenience at every operations stage. It is currently operating on an entirely paperless, end-to-end transaction model in over 800 cities.