A customer’s parcels delivered by Flipkart. Source: Flickr/Samrat Mazumdar

Mobile retail apps have won the hearts of India’s shoppers, App Annie report shows

A REPORT on the rise of mobile retail in India by mobile analytics firm App Annie says that Indian smartphone users have been spending 11x more time on mobile retail apps in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2014 – marking a significant shift from physical shopping to e-commerce in the country.

App Annie projects growth in India’s app stores downloads to balloon by 92 percent to 7.7 billion this year, reaching 20.1 billion by 2020.

The huge rise in app usage signals a higher smartphone adoption rate in the country, particularly among the rising middle classes, according to the report. The surge is also good news for India’s retail app market, as mobile e-commerce represented nearly 50 percent of online retail sales in 2015.

The retail app with the highest number of monthly active users on Android devices in the country is Bangalore-based Flipkart, followed by Amazon India – which indicates a preference for local marketplaces. Other most-used apps include Paytm, Snapdeal, and Myntra.

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Despite the preference, foreign players like Amazon and Wish have made significant progress in the past couple of years. Amazon became the most-downloaded app from Apple and Google’s app stores in the first quarter of 2016.

Although Flipkart is India’s veteran of the mobile e-commerce market, they face tough competition from Amazon India, whose CEO last month pledged to invest US$3 billion in the company’s India operations, making a total of US$5 billion.

Amazon India’s director of marketing, Kishore Thota, said: “Today, over 70 percent of our traffic comes from mobile. As customers are highly engaged on the app, we have doubled down our investments on the app to build a superior experience… and drive more engagement.”

App Annie’s advice to local retailers is to strengthen their supply chains, marketing, and support, as well as renew efforts to make customer service and product exclusivity more attractive.

“Successful mobile retail companies have always actively focused on improving key aspects of their product offerings and services,” says the report. “From vendor onboarding to last-mile delivery.

“In mobile-first India, however, to keep driving sales and retaining customers, retailers must provide a seamless and engaging shopping experience through mobile apps.”