Top 10 Trends in India’s Mobile App Ecosystem In 2015 [Indian Apps will enter the 50–100mn club]

I ended the year with a blog summarizing the growth India witnessed in mobile commerce and that inspired me to follow it up with another post on how I see the overall India’s mobile app ecosystem evolving in 2015. I also recently read Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s post listing down ten trends for India’s consumer Internet business in 2015 and I decided to top it up with Top 10 trends in the mobile ecosystem in India.

bigMobility Trend in India
bigMobility Trend in India

By all conservative means, India will have 250mn smartphones by the end of 2015 and approximately 50% of them would be connected which is 3X of the current connected phones in India. Here are the Top 10 trends I see in the wake of this explosive smartphone growth in 2015:

  1. M-commerce will continue to grow exponentially and orders from mobile apps will bypass desktop+mobile browser combined. Bigger ecom players will see this going up to 65%. I expect overall m-commerce market to cross $6 billion. However, most of the shopping apps needs to be redesigned keeping a mobile user in mind who has never seen and surfed on a bigger screen. Also, most of the commerce apps are not using the real power of mobile yet including location, camera, messaging, behavior & context. We may see some trends towards enhanced “designed for mobile” shopping experience.
  2. The affiliate program for Mobile Commerce will emerge. Affiliates have played an important role in driving almost 30% of the orders for most eCommerce players. However, it’s almost non-existent for mobile apps as most of the apps (except Flipkart) are not ready to track affiliate sending traffic in apps using deep links. All big commerce players (shopping, travel, recharge, subscription) will realize the importance of making affiliate links work inside their app too.
  3. Mobile App Remarketing will gain importance. Mobile Marketing has been limited to driving app installs. Engagement, repeat orders, bringing visitors back will now be equally important. The ecosystem is ready, most ad-networks (including Facebook & Google Adwords) are equipped, apps are built in a way (sharing product feeds, unique identifiers, etc.) to let mobile Remarketing gain equal importance as we see it on desktop.
  4. Indian Apps will enter the 50–100mn club. So far we don’t have a single app in 50–100mn install club at Play Store. I predict at least 5 Indian Apps will enter this zone by the end of 2015. Let me know your pick by adding a note here.
  5. App Install will get expensive. The cost of driving an app install will rise significantly across all the networks including Facebook. Besides stiff competition, it’s the hunt for quality users, which will take this cost up. Demand for incentivized installs will taper down and demand for engaging & transacting user will gain more importance than ever before. Having said that, few big & funded players will continue to play the install game thanks to addition of millions of new smartphone users every month.
  6. Carrier Billing in Play Store might be a reality. We have been hearing this for last 2 years now, but I believe 2015 might actually see it become a reality. That might start a new chapter in In-App transactions. However, I don’t foresee India specific app pricing or IAP denominations being introduced by Google this year.
  7. Chat/Messaging Apps will get into commerce. Competition for no.2 spot will be fought by Hike, WeChat, Line and some of them may open up its platform or partner with commerce players to introduce shopping, recharges, bookings, subscription payment through their platforms. However, I am not sure if this will gain any prominence yet, unless of course WhatsApp decides to get into this.
  8. Unbundling will happen. Some of the Apps have already started this in 2014 eg. Paytm launched a dedicated Paytm Wallet App, Gaana did that successfully with category specific apps and their unbundled apps put together have gained few million downloads already. We may see many Indian Apps trying this route to unlock some of their hidden features
  9. Indian Startups offering B2B solutions around Apps will go global. I have seen so many Indian startups trying to solve mobile app analytics, marketing automation, engagement, testing etc. Some of them are ready to take on global players and we will see a few of them getting funded and rising globally.
  10. Mobile search will evolve to include more Apps. I reckon that 12 months down the line, we will see mobile search results dominated by indexed apps. Google has gone pretty aggressive already to rope in apps to start indexing. Google will definitely be putting its might behind to gain the same foothold in mobile search as well. Several valley based startups are trying to solve the search problem in their unique way and they might offer some interesting models. This will be an interesting space to watch.

I believe that we are yet to see the real mobile revolution, hence I am looking forward to 2015 with a glee. We have reached an inflection point already and we will see this domain throwing some extraordinary opportunities, challenges & rewards for enterprising Indians.
[Guest article by Deepak Abbot. Follow him on Twitter @deepakabbot]

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