Everyone knows that smartphone usage has been growing rapidly in India and with it, an increasing number of Indians are going online. Over the last year, the biggest beneficiary of this appear to be apps in the music, media, and entertainment categories according to data from Flurry Analytics, a Yahoo-owned app analytics firm.
Gadgets 360 spoke with Chris Klotzbach, Director of Flurry, who said, “In India music, media, and entertainment are the top growing categories. We attribute it to the growth of phablets and Internet connectivity in India.” Flurry’s data states that globally, messaging and social apps have grown the most in 2016, whereas in India, music, media, and entertainment apps grew 188 percent year-over-year.
Another big takeaway from Flurry’s report is the fact that increasingly smartphone users in the US seem to prefer apps over the mobile browser. “Users spent five hours a day on smartphones and only 8 percent of their time was spent using browsers. 33 percent of their time on any given day is spent in messaging and social apps,” Klotzbach says. He adds that Flurry doesn’t have India-specific data for this as of now. “We’ve noticed that Indian users are six months behind on global trends so we expect them to be using their phones for five hours every day later this year,” he adds.
Fitness apps is another category growing globally and Flurry says fitness is no longer a fad. Its report cites Adobe data from November 2016 to show that users are spending a lot of time using fitness apps. The graph has its crests and troughs but Klotzbach says Flurry was able to map the troughs to the holiday season in the US. He says users returned to fitness apps around the New Year and the curve shows growth until the holiday season arrives.
“Globally fitness apps grew 18 percent year-over-year, while in India this is 27 percent,” Klotzbach says. “This is not a fad because fitness apps have the highest 30-day retention among all categories.” This means that over a 30-day period, and that’s a big deal for any app.
Gaming has long been promoted as one of the biggest money spinners for smartphone app developers, but recent data suggests that the bubble may have burst. The report states that the number of gaming sessions in 2016 reduced by 15 percent. Flurry’s data states that there were 380 billion smartphone gaming sessions in 2016, as compared to 450 billion in 2015. Klotzbach told Gadgets 360, “Sessions are declining in gaming globally. This could be attributed to the fact that more gamers are paying to progress through games.”
That statement may be true globally but not for India. Even though mobile gaming saw a small growth in India, Klotzbach says Flurry expects the country to follow global trends in 2017. Even a big gaming studio such as Nazara had 19.4 million downloads from Google Play in 2016, but it wasn’t happy with revenue generated per user.
“We’ve been in mobile. We understand mobile pretty well. One nuance of this market, the mass monetisation on mobile is going to take some time,” . “The habit takes longer to really culminate, we have got a very strong network but the monetisation from casual users from ads is really not there,” he says.
Flurry’s Klotzbach believes that the landscape is changing rapidly for smartphone game developers. “The two mega hits of 2016 (mobile games) are brands and institutions (in themselves) – and . It’s increasingly difficult to launch new games on phones,” he says. The landscape is still good for hardcore games but the market is getting tough for casual games.
Personalisation apps is another category that Flurry reported a massive decline in. The company had branded 2015 as the year of emoji after it noticed a big spike in apps such as emoji keyboards and Android launchers. However, the number of monthly sessions for these apps declined to under 15 billion in late 2016 as compared to a peak of 50 billion in 2015.
Klotzbach explains, “We can partly attribute this to the merging of personalisation apps into other apps. For example Bitmoji got integrated into Snapchat.” He adds that launcher apps have been becoming less popular over time as well, thanks to Google’s default launcher becoming much better over time and people losing interest in customising their phones over time. He says that people don’t prefer to do too much customisation themselves and that personalisation apps tend to lose their charm after people use them for a few hours.