Apps are the driving force behind evolving smartphone usage patterns. Calls and SMS were once the main function on a mobile phone; however, today apps have ushered in the age of infotainment-on-the-go. Apps extend the functionality of one’s smartphone and bring in a world of information, communication, social media and gaming to the mobile audience.
The importance attached to apps can be seen first-hand with the rapid adoption of Android which accounted for 62 per cent of recent smartphone purchases (July-Sept 2012). According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights, there is a marked difference between users across different operating systems in their willingness to pay for apps and make online transactions on their smartphones.
Apple’s iPhone (powered by iOS) may be the most well-known smartphone in the market, but the actual number of users in India is one percent. Though iOS and Blackberry contribute to only seven percent of the Indian smartphone market share, users of these two operating systems are the leaders when it comes to buying apps or making purchases within installed apps on their smartphones.
Android users are a distant third position in buying apps which can be attributed to the wide number of free apps available on the play store, which is followed by Symbian and Windows Phone.
The freemium model, where apps are free but optional content within them is charged, seems to be catching on with a higher proportion of users making in-app purchases compared to buying paid apps on their smartphones.
According to the report, every 1 among every 10 smartphone users engages in some kind of online transaction on their smartphone. The transaction can vary from buying products to paying bills or both. Apple users are the most evolved in this field with one fifth of them using their device for m-commerce.
Though iOS users have the least presence in the Indian smartphone market, they are the most evolved users in terms of spending money on buying applications, making purchases within applications, online purchases or paying bills online. Though Android users form the biggest chunk of the smartphone market, they have relatively lesser tendency to buy apps.
M-commerce may be in its infancy but there is tremendous potential for growth when one considers the size of the smartphone pie and the ever increasing uptake of other connected devices.