The surging Indian mobile app market

By / in Mobile app, Startup, Technology / Posted July 19, 2018

India has been recognized as the fastest growing mobile app market in 2018. Indian mobile app downloads and revenue have been surging in both Google’s Android Play Store and Apple’s App Store. India has the most number of mobile app downloads across both platforms according to App Annie, the mobile market data and insights company. The booming mobile market in India can be contributed to a few factors, both macro and micro.

Reasons for expansion

State Initiatives

Digital India has brought rapid growth for smart phones, mobile phones, and internet users.

The Indian government is ambitiously pursuing its Digital India program. Its vision is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. They have expanded e-Governance projects and plan to transform the entire ecosystem of public services to information technology. This has caused great advancements in India’s digital profile. In 2018, India’s smartphone users (456 million), mobile phone connections (1.2 billion), and internet users (478 million), all saw sharp increases. 

Affordable data

Secondly, Indian telecom companies have started ‘free unlimited data’ offers. The Indian giant Reliance Jio started a data rush offering 28 GB plus 5 GB of extra data for users who sign up for prime membership, which is a one-time fee of Rs 99 (<$2). Rivals such as Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Vodafone all followed suit. This rapid expansion of broadband services is contributing to the change in consumption habits. The average data usage per subscriber grew 25 times from 62 MB per month in 2014 to 1.6 GB per month in 2017, according to data from the Department of Telecommunications.

Mobile demand

India’s citizens demand mobile phones and accessible data.

India’s population is entering the Internet age ‘mobile first’. Millions are adopting the internet through their mobile phones, and for many people, it is their first mobile phone. The Indian smartphone market has been growing rapidly. In 2017 it witnessed a healthy 14% annual growth rate. It shipped 124 million units that year making it the fastest growing market globally, firmly remaining the third largest smartphone market. Low-cost smartphone makers are taking large swaths of the market, with Chinese vendors collecting a 53% share. 

This combination of state initiatives, low-cost internet access, and low-cost smartphones lead to an expanding mobile phone market, and subsequently, mobile app market.

Show us the facts

According to the mobile report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, in 2017, the country’s internet user population was 281 million (expected to reach 500 million in 2018) with 62% being in urban areas. However, the smartphone population itself became greater than 300 million. These numbers surely solidify the ‘mobile first’ trend in India.

India, being the fastest growing of any market, saw a Q1 year over year revenue growth of 41%. Indonesia came in at a distant second with a 24% increase. According to App Annie, India was the number one market globally by combined downloads on iOS and Google Play, ahead of the United States (second), and China (third, iOS only).

Indian app users spent a collective 50 billion hours in apps.

While the rate of revenue growth is surging, the absolute revenue generated ranks India 29th globally. Sales from mobile apps sit at a modest $47 million. The top spenders globally in Q1 2018 were the US – $3.2 billion, Japan – $2.7 billion, and China – $2.4 billion (iOS only). Clearly, India has a long way to go before ranking top 10 in revenue.

Fortunately, there are even more than market trends that give India the potential to reach much higher revenues in the future. Indian mobile users are avid app users. The average user in India has nearly 80 apps on their phone and accesses over 40 of them each month. Globally, the time spent on apps spiked by 30%, meaning each user spends about 43 days per year in apps.

More facts

In Q4 2017, Indian app users spent a collective 50 billion hours in apps across Google Play, iOS, and third-party Android. The top three apps downloaded in India in the first quarter of 2018 were content and video streaming apps. The top two most popular apps were Netflix and Tinder.

India, being the world’s fastest growing and second largest market, is a major player in the global app economy. The current growth numbers show no signs of slowing down, bringing much excitement to this emerging market. As time moves forward, internet adoption and mobile adoption numbers will only increase. The data initiatives and low-cost smartphones will continue to be drivers for the domestic app economy. As India’s economy develops, user spending will increase as well – something that’s greatly needed for the 29th ranked revenue generator.



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Featured Founder – Sourabh Soni

By / in Startup / Posted March 23, 2018

It’s not rare to come across an impressive startup story these days; stories that start with the spark of an idea, sleepless nights, the struggle to get a product, and often ending with a crash and burn.

While the LearnX story is less cliche, it certainly has the spark, sleepless nights, and product struggles. The founders from India, America, Germany, and Poland connected around an idea and opportunity to make a difference. They did this knowing that startups are risky, but with the hope of making a big impact in the lives of many. Their choice of impact is in EdTech.

The team of international founders created the world’s first social learning network.

LearnX Featured Founder, Sourabh Soni

Their mission is to create a timeless, universal learning ecosystem. While their mission is grand, they do the groundwork every day working towards their goals. The LearnX mobile app connects people from around the world to learn academic subjects, languages, skills, and more.

One of the founders of LearnX is Sourabh Soni, from India. He has achieved academic success, professional success, and is now striving for entrepreneurial success. However, he was not always successful. Growing up, he struggled academically, that is, until he began receiving tutoring. He has deep first-hand knowledge and experience in India’s secondary education market as a Learner (student) as well as a Knower (teacher).

Let’s get to know a bit of Sourabh’s story.


After starting tutoring, he would eventually become a top performer in class.

From an average student to a top performer in class.

Indian founder, Sourabh Soni, grew up in Punjab. His father, Janak Raj Soni, came from humble beginnings. He made a living selling garments, utensils, and other small products. Sourabh helped him when he could, preparing products and picking up shipments. Needless to say, he comes from a middle-class family that has worked hard day in and day out. 

Janak’s goal was to earn enough money to pay for a decent education for his children without taking out any loans. Sourabh and his siblings attended public school, where he was a very average student – scoring in the middle of his class at best. This continued until K10, the time he came to realize how the world works, what it takes to be successful, and especially how hard his father worked to give him an education. After that, Sourabh changed. From K10 on, he would end up being a top performer in class.


A key driver of his academic improvement was thanks to the private tutoring he received. Luckily, Sourabh attended private classes to improve his grades which put him on track to become a high performing professional. He had weekly classes in two subjects with dozens of other students. Despite the lack of personalization (not to mention technology), it was enough to make a difference.

His academic performance led him to have the knowledge and ability to teach other Learners. He would deliver lessons to groups of 20 students, 6 days a week. This became a passion of his and he would continue to tutor Learners through university, and professional training. His time teaching others greatly improved his understanding of the course content and helped him get top scores. He credits this as the biggest reason for his academic success. Giving and receiving tutoring would continue for years of his life.

Sourabh attended private classes to improve his grades.

His academic improvement was thanks to the private tutoring he received.

During his professional training courses, he received private tutoring for his Chartered Accountancy degree. He received a word of mouth reference from a classmate about an excellent teacher in town. For the next three years, Sourabh attended four subject courses, three days a week, for five months each year. His classes were packed with 50-100 other Learners, costing him more than $50-$60 a month, which is not cheap for a young Indian student.

The young entrepreneur paid for all his university tuition, living expenses, and tutoring expenses with the money he earned from his small sunglasses business and providing tutoring. Again, despite the little personalization and digitization, he was able to succeed in his professional degrees.

Sourabh went on to earn three professional degrees – 1. Chartered Accountant (CA); 2. Company Secretary (CS); 3. Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) Intermediate, Cost Accounting. These are the highest degrees in the Legal, Finance, and, Accounting fields in India.


After starting his professional career at Infosys, India’s largest tech company, Sourabh would soon be transferred to Germany as an IT consultant. With limited digital literacy and knowledge of management information systems, he would have his work cut out for him preparing for his new role.

Thanks to a foundation of learning, Sourabh quickly picked up what he didn’t know and excelled in his position. He consulted the two largest companies in Germany over four years on different IT projects. However, as his corporate career progressed, so did his desire to make a difference outside of the corporate world.

Unfortunately, he was not fulfilled with his career and wanted to do something that would have a large and direct impact on the lives of the people that needed it. Sourabh, like many others, knows that education can bring people a long way. He came a long way thanks to the education he received.

Thinking of his and millions of others' education, Sourabh would work to improve education.

Sourabh decided to make an impact in people’s lives through education.

After reflecting on his time as a student and tutor, he thought of the problems he and millions of other students faced. The secondary education market in India lacks convenient access to tutors, little personalization, and low digital adoption. After sighting this problem, he decided to do something about it. Sourabh presented the LearnX concept with another Co-Founder at a Startup Weekend in Frankfurt, Germany. This was one of the crucial steps taken to bring LearnX to life.


Upon clarifying the problem, identifying a solution, and selecting the business model, Sourabh knew he had to go back to his home country and make an impact in the lives of millions of Indians.

That is what he is doing today.