Google Play alternatives slowly gaining ground

Google Play takes the lion’s share of the app market in India. Unlike the US or China market where Apple is a major player, India is almost complete Android market. Let us see who are the challengers for Google Play in the market and how they far against Google Play.

MoboMarketLogo - MoboMarket

Baidu’s Android App market has recently started their operations in India. They came out with a major update MoboMarket 3.0 on 9th December 2015. They released this information in a recent Press Release made public by them

Here are the major highlights in the updated version of MoboMarket in the India market.

  • It supports Hindi as a language. This is a definite move towards localisation and a more focused approach towards the Indian market.
  • They have further added a recommendation aspect to their application that making it easier for the user to choose relevant apps or get introduced to new ones.
  • A point system has been introduced where daily tasks are assigned to users and once completed, will leads to winning points which can be converted to gifts

As with all App market places, the owner of the app market has their own set of apps for the user. Baidu already has Android apps namely DU Browser, DU Batter Saver, DU Speed Booster and Antivirus Wonder Camera and ES File Express

They claim to have 4.5 million MAU (Monthly Active Users) in India with over 500,000 apps and games in its kitty.

Currently it is not available on Google Play Store. You can check out their website to download the apk file.


9AppsLogo - 9Apps - Rounded Edges

9Apps is the UCWeb owned and thus in turn owned by Alibaba, Android App Market. Now 9Apps has been around in India for a much longer time compared to MoboMarket.

9Apps along with 9Game claims to be the world’s leading third-party app store. In a Press Release re on 6th November, 2015, they announced that they have 140 million MAU’s. and together, both the stors have 8.5 million DAU’s.

These numbers are much better compared to MoboMarket numbers, however you have to keep in mind that 9Apps and 9Game are backed by UC Browser which is the most popular mobile browser edleasin the country.

They had opened their office in Mumbai back in June 2014.

9Apps is not available on Google Play at the moment either. You can download the APK file on their website.


Google PlayLogo - Google Play

The biggest application store in the market with over 1.8 million apps in it’s store, Google Play rules the roost in most markets in the world, except China. Google Play’s revenue compared to Apple Store is however much less. The total number of paid apps is 206,408 which means only around 12% of the apps on the Google Play store ask for a direct payment for use.

Specifically when it comes to India, Google Play store is huge in India. India is the third largest country by downloads for Google Play only behind US and Brazil. As far as revenues are concerned, it is a different matter with India ranked at no 6 as per currency usage. The current average rate for app install is 41 cents per install. As far as device usage is concerned, we know that there are a number of international and local OEM’s in the market. Samsung devices take a lion’s share of the market with 7 Samsung devices featured in the top 10 most popular devices in India. The other entrants being 1 each from Motorola, Lenovo and the India player, Micromax.


Apple App StoreLogo - Apple App Store

It is the largest app store in China and the US and has almost half the market in Japan, however, the story in India is very different.  Mobile devices which use Apple iOS constitutes 1.66% of the total market OS market share in India, as per November 2015. Apple currently has 1.4 million iOS applications on its store.

The biggest challenge for Apple in India is the price. With the majority of the market in India, fairly value conscious, chances of Apple increasing market share based on brand value alone is difficult. With so many Android alternatives in the market, with ridiculously diverse price points, the challenge Apple faces is a big one. Another major hurdle for the brand is complete lack of care for the local market conditions. Apple 3G was launched in India in August 2008 while the 3G spectrum was not even available in India, at the time. 3G wireless spectrum was allocated to private players in September 2010. However they have been doing marketing campaigns in India for Apple iPhone 5c and now the latest Apple iPhone 6s. These commercials usually highlight the same features that feature phones did in their commercials when they were big.



MobogenieLogo - Mobogenie

This one of the major third party Android app markets in the world and a player who has recently gained a small foothold in South East Asia. They claim to have their apps installed 500 million times with a daily distribution figure of 59 million with 40 million downloads only in South East Asia. This numbers are from their Press Release released on 27th April, 2015.

We have noticed that there has not been any recent activity by Mobogenie in the India market. They have not showed up in the news or have released information on new development in India. The blog on their website is dead and Mobogenie is not available on Google Play Store and I was unable to download the same from their website.


There have been certain disruptive tactics which have the industry has seen. The most notable one being done by Apple. The “Move to iOS” app was a pretty interesting move by Apple and was launched on 29th Sept, 2015. The application was designed for Android users to be able to experience Apple environment on an Android run device. However it received the treatment that usually soldiers receive when they end up surrounded in enemy territory. It currently has 2.2 out of 5 rating with a little more than 66% users giving it the lowest rating possible.

Apple is gaining market share in China but Google Play is destroying them in app downloads based on the growth in India and South East Asia market. And this will continue to grow. The major challenge lies for the market leader in downloads, to monetize the next billion users who will be using Google Play. They will be coming predominantly from India, Indonesia and Africa. Not a lot of brands are interested in this demographic for now since disposable incomes are still low. And thus, for these very reasons, it can be seen as a very exciting and interesting space to watch. We expect some really innovative business models forced out of this developing scenario.

While Apple is just waiting for individuals to earn more, skimp and save and gather enough funds to purchase their product in emerging market. Apple’s app store total revenue is already much higher compared to Google Play. They did not change for Japan, they did not change for China and they will probably just wait for India and Indonesia to earn more.

And while they think about it, we have small players, mostly from China taking up insignificant sections of the market and coming up with their own innovative ways of improving revenue per user and become a viable alternative to the two major app stores.

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