Getting into Google’s top 10 most downloaded apps list in India is the toughest in the world

The number of daily downloads required for an Android app or game to make it to the top ten list of apps on Google Play Store in India is the highest in the world, according to the latest Store Intelligence data from app analytics firm SensorTower. In India, a non-gaming app requires 292,000 downloads every day, while a gaming app requires 125,000 downloads to reach the milestone.

The Sensor Tower report revealed that India, China, and the United States have the highest barriers to entry for apps.

In China, a non-gaming app requires 108,000 downloads from Apple’s App Store to rank in the top ten, while in the United States, an iOS app requires 52,000 downloads. Gaming apps are relatively better placed. For example, in China with only 23,000 daily downloads and in the United States with 26,000 daily downloads, an app could rank in the top ten.

In comparison, in markets like Brazil, only 69,000 downloads are needed for apps and 39,000 for games to rank in the top 10 on Play Store. Similarly, in Indonesia, 77,000 app downloads and 44,000 game downloads are needed.

Faisal Kawoosa, chief analyst and founder of market research firm techARC, points out that India’s app ecosystem is much more fragmented than others in terms of user choice. “Instead of relying on a single go-to app for taxi, flight booking or shopping, most smartphone users have multiple apps on their smartphone so they can compare the best features and prices that each of them has. ‘between them has to offer,” he added.

Moreover, the Sensor Tower report shows that it is even more difficult to reach the top. For example, the number of daily downloads of an app to reach the top of the Apple App Store in the United States increased by 37%. The number of downloads required for an app on the App Store is now 156,000 to reach number one from 114,000 in 2019.

It is relatively easier to reach the top of the Google Play Store. Data from Sensor Tower shows that the number of downloads needed to become number one has fallen by 33%, from 83,000 in 2019 to 56,000 this year.

Sensor Tower attributes the increase in iOS app downloads to “iOS-specific user acquisition tactics” used by developers after Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. Introduced in 2021, ATT ensured that app developers could not access app-related data to track the user or device without the user’s explicit permission.

According to Sensor Tower, this is a unique challenge for non-gaming app developers. The number of downloads required for a gaming app to reach number one on the App Store dropped by 46%, from 171,000 daily downloads in 2019 to 93,000 daily downloads in 2022. On Google Play, it decreased by 68%, going from 114,000 downloads to 37,000. Sensor Tower analysts believe this is happening because users are downloading games they already care about instead of trying new games.

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Lance B. Holton