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WhatsApp Gained Most Monthly Active Users in India in 2020, Facebook Led Downloads: App Annie

WhatsApp’s average monthly time spent in India increased 23.87 percent in 2020, according to App Annie.

WhatsApp Gained Most Monthly Active Users in India in 2020, Facebook Led Downloads: App Annie

Photo Credit: Reuters

WhatsApp users in India spent 21.3 hours per month on the app on an average in 2020, as per App Annie

  • WhatsApp’s average monthly time spent in India increased from 17.2 hours
  • TikTok saw an increase in time spent despite the ban
  • Mobile app downloads in India hit 24.27 billion in 2020

WhatsApp emerged as the top app of 2020 in India with most monthly active users, according to mobile analytics firm App Annie. This might change in 2021 as users are moving away from WhatsApp because of privacy concerns, but in a locked down 2020, WhatsApp took centre stage. The instant messaging app also outpaced leading social apps including Facebook and Instagram in terms of getting users' attention, with 21.3 hours spent by users per month on an average.

However, Telegram, which strongly competes against WhatsApp, led the chart of top breakout social apps in the country. Telegram has now crossed 500 million monthly users, adding 25 million new users in just three days after the WhatsApp controversy started.

Other apps including YouTube and MX Player also saw an increase in time spent in the country as people stayed indoors for months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The details available in the State of Mobile 2021 report by App Annie showed that the average monthly time spent per user on WhatsApp in India increased 23.87 percent in 2020 to 21.3 hours from 17.2 hours. Facebook's native app also saw an uptick and it gained 17.1 hours of average monthly time spent per month in the country. Similarly, time spent on Truecaller in the country increased to 4.6 hours from 3.1 hours.

TikTok, which was banned by the government in late June, also saw an increase in average time spent in the country. According to App Annie, the short-video app saw 29.27 percent increase in average time spent of 10.6 hours in the country in 2020 despite the nationwide ban.

WhatsApp, Facebook, Truecaller, Facebook Messenger, and Amazon were the top five apps in the country with most monthly active users, the firm noted.

apps monthly active users india app annie Apps  WhatsApp  App Annie

WhatsApp, Facebook, and Truecaller were the top three apps in India in 2020 with most monthly active users
Photo Credit: App Annie


The list of leading social media apps in terms of monthly active users featured Telegram on top, followed by WhatsApp, Instagram, MX TakaTak, and Moj.

However, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snack Video, Instagram, and TikTok became the top downloaded apps in the country, according to the report. Ludo King, Carrom Pool, Hunter Assassin, Free Fire, and Bubble Shooter by Ilyon, on the other hand, came as the top five downloaded games among Indian users.

Developed by Indian publisher Gametion, Ludo King, also emerged as the top game in the country, followed by PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Candy Crush Saga, and Carrom Pool. Titles such as Free Fire, PUBG Mobile, Ludo King, and Call of Duty: Mobile received most of the time spent of Indian users in 2020.

As the government imposed lockdown, a large number of mobile phone users started switching to video streaming apps. This trend has been seen in App Annie's report quite well as the average monthly time spent on YouTube in the country hit 26.4 hours per month. This was up from 21.4 hours in 2019. Apps including MX Player, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video also saw an increase in time spent in the country.

MX Player emerged as the leading video streaming app in the part of time spent, followed by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Airtel TV, and WeTV.

App Annie also noticed growth in mobile commerce apps in 2020. Particularly, in India, Flipkart received the most average time spent on mobile commerce apps, followed by Amazon, Olx, BigBasket, and Ajio. One of the reasons could be the lockdown that pushed several Indians towards online grocery shopping.

The lockdown forced due to the pandemic also resulted in the success of online education apps, with Google Classroom emerged as the most downloaded education app in the country. Vedantu, Tips for File Transfer 2020, Doubtnut, and DIKSHA were the following top downloaded education apps in the Indian market.

We weren't just using apps for longer — spending on apps also increased in 2020, with Tinder, Disney+ Hotstar, Google One, Truecaller, and Netflix emerged as the leading apps attracting money from their users in India. Free Fire, PUBG Mobile, Coin Master, Teen Patti, and Clash of Clans, on the other hand, came as the top consumer spend games in the country.

The report also highlighted that over 24.27 billion mobile apps were downloaded from app stores including Apple's App Store and Google Play in the country in 2020. This translates to 11.13 percent of the 218 billion app downloads reported globally.

Overall consumer spend on apps in the country hit $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,652 crores). Indian smartphone users also spent over 650.66 billion hours on apps in the year.

What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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