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India Takes Over World’s Top Spot for App Downloads on Google Play, Analytics Firm Says

As smartphones and data plans became more affordable in India, the South Asian nation swept aside the U.S. and Brazil to become the world’s top consumer of Google Play applications last year.

In terms of the number of times people in India downloaded apps from the store, which is part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, India outpaced both the U.S. and Brazil who were above it the year before, according to a recent report from San Francisco-based research firm App Annie.

In terms of revenues generated through Google Play, India didn’t feature in the top ten, indicating that users in the country are still spending far less than their Japanese, American and South Korean counterparts, who took the top three spots for sales.

Tech companies are racing to capitalize on India’s growing smartphone market. Google has launched free Wi-Fi at more than 100 railways stations across India while Apple is exploring opening its own stores in the country.

With 1.2 billion people and expanding smartphone adoption, these companies see India as the next big market outside of China. The Google Play store isn’t operational in China, so the country didn’t appear in the Google Play downloads or revenue ranking.

“India’s phenomenal progress over the past two years is even more impressive when considering its potential for further gains,” the report said of its app download growth.

The report also showed Indians had the highest average number of shopping apps installed per user on their phones, good news for companies like Amazon who are betting big on India. Indians also topped the ranking for for time spent on Android phones, the report said.

App Annie compiles data on download, revenue and usage. Its revenue rankings are based on money from paid downloads as well as in-app purchases.

Spokespeople for Apple and Google didn’t respond to a request for comment on the figures.

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(via WSJ)