Global users, on an average, spent 150% more time on Indian apps and games in 2021, compared to 2019: Google
Apps like Ludo King have become one of the most played games globally on the Play Store: Google
An Inc42 report found that India saw the second-highest number of mobile app downloads in the world, with over 27 Bn downloads
In what appears to be a pat on the back for Indian developers, Google says that home-grown apps are witnessing a major spike in interest across the globe.
Google Play Apps and Games’ vice president, Purnima Kochikar said that, “Indian apps and games saw a 200% increase in active monthly users on Google Play compared to 2019.”
Kochikar made the comments during the launch of a new cohort of 100 startups under its AppScale academy initiative.
She further added that global users, on an average, spent 150% more time on Indian apps and games in 2021, compared to 2019.
Google data further reinforced the notion that apps and games built by Indian companies were finding global audiences. Adding further, Kochikar said that apps like ‘Ludo King’ have become one of the most played games globally on the Play Store.”
The renewed focus on India is part of Google’s strategy to win a big chunk of the Indian market. Although Google does enjoy near total dominance in the Operating System (OS) market with Android, It still vies for data which is a critical component of its operations.
In 2021, India saw the second-highest number of mobile app downloads in the world, with over 27 Bn downloads. The analysis also revealed WhatsApp was the most popular social media application in India followed by Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
According to another report that used a different methodology, the total app downloads from India on the Google Play Store declined 4.3% to 6.62 Bn in Q4 2021. In comparison, this number stood at 6.92 Bn during the same period in 2020.
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The same report states India retained its position as the top market in terms of app downloads on Google Play, followed by Brazil, Indonesia and the US. The most popular apps in India included the now banned Garena Free Fire which exceeded 40 Mn downloads in Q4 2021
The report also claimed that Gametion’s Ludo King ranked either first or second in each quarter of 2021 on the Google Play Store. While the Google executive claimed that Ludo King enjoyed global popularity, this report claimed that nearly 88%percent of its downloads in Q4 2021 were from India, followed by Indonesia at 8%.
In addition to this, there are more than 29,287 Indian publishers on Google Play, led by homegrown studios like Gametion, Moonton, Words Mobile and Moonfrog.
This data also comes at a time when Google is on a major spending blitzkrieg in India. Earlier on March 2, Google’s accelerator programme named 100 Indian early to mid-stage startups that it would help scale globally.
The move is likely part of its recently announced $10 Bn ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund and is in line with Google CEO Sundar Pichai recent statement where he said that the tech giant aims to build more products in India, for the entire globe.
Days ago, the tech company also launched Google Play Pass in India, pricing the subscription service at INR 99 a month. The service allows users access to apps and games without ads, in-app purchases, or upfront payments.
On the other hand, the tech giant continues to be panned by critics, accusing Play Store of indulging in ‘anti-competitive’ practices and creating an ecosystem which cripples small app developers.
The Play Store along with Apple’s App Store has been under fire for mandating in-app payments systems and for charging a hefty fee of 30% for transactions on these apps.
Interestingly, Google had deferred the enforcement of the 30% commission hike in India after protests had erupted over the matter back in 2020. The Play Store is set to revisit the commission hike in April this year.
Recently, at a virtual; roundtable discussion organised by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) and Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) on ‘App Store Regulations in India’, critics had pointedly slammed Google for using its dominance to suppress other smaller players and its competitors across the globe.’
India is a huge market and everyone wants a piece of pie. While critics have slammed Google, the tech giant seems to have clearly charted out its Indian trajectory. But, will it stay on course, only time will tell.