We are planning to release research findings every month as part of our startup support program at the Microsoft Accelerator in India.. There are about 50 different topics that we are curious about and are consistently doing research to find out ways to help our accelerator companies perform market research, target early adopters and focus on getting more customer traction.
This series is part of our accelerator database on engagement with startups, investors, mentors & entrepreneurship.
The first research today that we are sharing is based on survey of mobile phone usage in India. Specifically we wanted to focus on smartphones and the adoption of apps on the smartphones.
There were 3 important questions some of our startups that are building mobile applications had, which we wanted to find answers for.
1. Who are the early adopters of mobile applications on smartphones? By age, gender, type of phone & OS.
2. What types of apps get quicker adoption than others? Games vs. social and Connected vs. standalone apps.
3. What is the usage of mobile web among smartphone users?
There are 3 most surprising answers are:
1. Older people (>35) make up 40+% of smart phone users. Used phones make up 18% overall and nearly 25% of smaller city users.
2. While Blackberry is still strong among older users, Samsung has the most number of touch screen and smartphone users overall, followed by a wide range of local brands.
3. The awareness of apps among both younger and older audiences is miserably low. <27% have EVER downloaded an app in India. Over 33% overall and 44% of older users have no data plan.
What does this mean for app developers in India?
1) Like worldwide stats, games trumps productivity and other apps on the mobile. But if you have a game that requires a data plan you are in trouble. So for game makers, the ability to make money from “ads” that are served via a mobile ad server is limited
2. Given that a lot of users are buying used (second-hand) phones in India, expect to support older models for a significant amount of time.
3. Given very little awareness of “apps” among Indian smartphone users, look for offline mechanisms (kiosks) to pop up to support app distribution.
P.S. Some of the slides have not rendered properly on Slideshare even after 2 attempts, so, here is a pdf version. Smartphone usage in India.