India Sales Director
India’s mobile app market was the world’s largest by Google Play download volume in 2016, according to App Annie. But there are some unique facets of the country’s app sector that make it especially challenging for publishers to navigate. eMarketer’s David Green spoke with Himanshu Kulkarni, India sales director at mobile app analytics and attribution platform AppsFlyer, about the idiosyncrasies of India’s app market that publishers need to know about.
eMarketer: What app categories are experiencing the strongest growth in India at the moment?
Himanshu Kulkarni: Mcommerce plays a dominant role in India, because people first connect to the internet via their mobile devices. But because low-end devices are prevalent, it’s common for users to uninstall apps to avoid overtaxing their device, and then reinstall them during sales events or whenever they want to try out a new app or take advantage of a discount.
eMarketer: How do advertisers account for that behavior?
Kulkarni: The high churn rate means that the stickiness of the user is reduced, so in-app advertisers usually consider the customer lifetime value foremost. For app publishers, remarketing and re-engagement campaigns play an important role in either retaining users or reinitiating the install process to get them back.
eMarketer: There has been a lot of consolidation in the ecommerce app space in India. What are some of the reasons?
Kulkarni: In the past, niche apps were acquired by larger players, in part because they gather more specific user data. That gets them a deeper understanding about the end-users.
eMarketer: Platforms like Hike and Paytm have recently bundled services like messaging, digital payments and ecommerce. Can we expect an app offering a single suite of services to emerge in India, similar to WeChat in China?
Kulkarni: It’s quite natural for apps with a critical user mass like Paytm or Hike to diversify. The more touchpoints these services have with their users, the more they can monetize. It also adds to the stickiness of the user.
If your app is able to do multiple things, then users will not uninstall it. For this reason, payments and messaging services are looking at expanding their verticals, whether into messaging, games, curated videos or other forms of content.