India is a textbook definition of diversity. Different regions of the country are marked by their differing tastes in clothing, food, and lifestyle habits.
But recently there has been a new differentiator: tech preferences.
With the onset of affordable internet and accessible smartphones, Indians from all over the country have joined the nation’s internet revolution. And this digital revolution has revealed interesting tech preferences of a diverse populace.
Recent reports about India’s progress in terms of app usage also highlight a stark difference between the tech interactions for people from different geographical locations. Language also plays a massive role in deciding a region’s app needs as people prefer using apps in their native languages.
In this article, we shall dive deep into what India’s favorite tech genres were in 2021 and which apps gained the most traction last year.
Indians and Their App Preferences
People’s decision on what kind of apps they use is directly tied to the language they speak and their profession. We elaborate further in the following sections.
Love for finance apps
Indians have typically limited themselves to traditional methods of investment such as buying real estate or gold. The number of people who invest in the stock market is far and few. In March 2019, we had just around 3.6 crore Demat accounts. That’s only 3% of the entire Indian population. And this number looks even smaller when we compare it to what we see in the West.
Looking at this trend, it might seem like Indians are not interested in activities such as buying and selling stocks or investing in cryptocurrencies. But that has not been the case lately.
Finance apps have shown phenomenal growth in India recently. To put that in context, the number of Demat accounts in the country has increased to more than 7.7 crores as of November 2021. While there are several factors to this financial proliferation, one cannot simply deny the role of financial apps in it. Financial apps make investing money and trading stocks extremely convenient, among other benefits.
India’s Hindi-speaking belt shows a fascinating inclination toward finance-related apps It has a significant number of people who prefer using apps in their native language. Financial app developers have identified the potential of offering services in different languages, and breaking the language barrier is increasingly seen as a game-changer.
Moreover, sending personalized notifications in native languages has further attracted more people to these apps.
You can visualize the groundbreaking success of personalized notifications by looking at the average industry clickthrough rate (CTR). Personalized notifications in Hindi have resulted in a 5x boost in CTR as compared to sending notifications in English alone.
Success of trading apps in the South
A similar pattern can be seen in the southern states where a subset of finance apps, i.e. trading apps, shines the most.
But unlike the Hindi belt, the southern states don’t have a uniform native language. Each south Indian state has its own language.
Personalized notifications have also benefited developers who have seen a 6x boost in app engagement in Tamil Nadu, thanks to notifications in Tamil. Likewise, states such as Kerala and Karnataka have also shown massive gains with Malayalam and Kannada respectively.
While personalized notifications have proven to be very successful in the southern states, as seen above, users from these states refrain from explicitly telling their preferred language, and that may be confusing for app developers and product managers. This happens because a significant number of south Indians are multilingual. Apart from their native language, they can also be comfortable in English and Hindi. With so many options, people from these states don’t always declare their preferred language, making personalized notifications less reliable for apps.
Ledger book apps are gaining traction in business-savvy states
Indians in business have followed the age-long custom of maintaining a physical ledger to keep track of all their transactions. This is especially prevalent among businesses that couldn’t afford a computer to maintain records of income and expenses. We are primarily talking about small-scale businesses like shop owners and tiffin services operated from homes.
But this changed with the advent of smartphones.
Nowadays, even people in Tier II and Tier III cities know their way around mobile phones and apps. Naturally, this led to a demand for ledger book apps. It provided a faster way to record accounting transactions, track expenses and income, and even set reminders to make payments, etc. Businesses with even minimal resources could afford a smartphone to make the switch from physical ledgers to their mobile app counterpart.
As one would expect, business-savvy states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka were amongst the top regions where ledger book apps gained traction. According to the usage statistic from Indus App Bazaar, the ledger book industry saw an average of 60% more engagement in these states.
Gaming is an India-wide hit, but trends differ from expectations
The Indian Gaming Industry has been the talk of the town since the advent of competitive smartphone games. Gamers from across the country have made careers out of mobile games. Competitive e-sport tournaments are nothing unusual in contemporary times. As heavyweight titles with competitive lobbies make the most buzz, you might get tricked into believing that games like BGMI, COD: Mobile, and Apex Legends are the only popular ones in the industry.
However, the ground reality is somewhat different. Sure, these games enjoy a massive gamer base, but there’s another genre of games that is the unsung hero in the Indian gaming industry.
We are talking about the casual gaming industry, consisting of simple games without those fancy graphics.
Games including Ludo King, Subway Surfers, chess, and card games are some notable mentions from this category.
India’s per capita income varies significantly as you move from metropolitans to Tier II and Tier III cities. As a result, you won’t find people using the latest flagship smartphones in these places but mostly budget smartphones that can barely run graphic-intensive tasks. Moreover, the population in these cities don’t play mobile games to make a career out of it, but it is more about playing games as a stressbuster.
This makes casual games the best option for people from Tier II and Tier III cities such as Jaipur, Bhopal, Indore, Hubli, etc. Casual games also find an audience among users between 40-60 years.
Factors that Affect Users’ App Preferences
A user’s native language is a decisive deciding factor when it comes to choosing apps, but that’s certainly not the only one.
There are a plethora of factors that go into deciding one’s taste for apps, and these factors include age, location, income group, and the type of device. According to reports, the type of device is one of the most influential factors in deciding the user’s preferred apps. In other words, people use apps that work well on their smartphones. That’s why you won’t find many memory-intensive apps on budget smartphones, and the app gallery would probably have more casual games in it.
On the other hand, smartphones like the Asus ROG have a high chance of having the best-selling or the most graphics-intensive games in their app library.
Besides this, users show more interest in app genres they have previously explored and liked. It makes sense if you like finance apps, new apps from the genre will undoubtedly interest you more than apps from some totally new genre.
How does Indus App Bazaar Help Apps in Winning the Language Game?
We have already seen how showing people relevant information in their language makes a huge difference. Apps that serve personalized content for their users show anywhere between five to six times engagement boosts. Any app developer would love to see these numbers for their apps.
If you’re an indie developer making an app for the Indian market, don’t hesitate to add as many Indian languages as possible to the UI. Not only does that help in user retention, but it also lets you entertain some new audiences.
However, adding more languages won’t help unless you gain some users.
Conventional app stores such as the Play Store operate globally, therefore it becomes impossible for them to optimize their app recommendations according to each region they cater to. As a result, the app recommendations are similar for a broad audience, forcing many users to use apps in languages other than their preferred one. Indie app developers also face challenges as their apps don’t appear in the recommendations, which results in less app traffic.
Using an alternative app store such as the Indus App Bazaar is a great way to cater to various people.
With personalization in place, Indus App Bazaar has increased its daily active users by a whopping 35% on the browse page. They also bring a vast user base to app developers as it is a partner to the massive Samsung Galaxy Store in India. Moreover, as a developer, you don’t need to pay those hefty transaction commissions that Play Store and the App Store ask for.
App language and personalization are the two key points to take away from the above report. Moreover, personalized notifications in one’s native language can boost app engagement massively. In addition, factors that affect app preferences primarily include the device type and genres most suited to a person’s interest.
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