New Study Reveals Opportunities in India’s Mobile App Market, Led by Women and Rural Regions

New Study Reveals Opportunities in India’s Mobile App Market, Led by Women and Rural Regions

Indian women account for 28% of the country’s total app consumption, with rural users accounting for 16.4%

Mountain View, Calif., and Mumbai, India, March 15 2022: CleverTap, the world’s leading retention cloud platform, has released a study showing the extent to which women throughout India and people of all demographics in rural India are engaging with mobile apps. Analyzing usage of over 300 different mobile apps with an average monthly user base of more than 4 million, the study found that women account for 28% of total consumption, while people in rural areas account for 16.4%.

A mobile-savvy country where apps drive commerce, communications, education and social interactions, India was the second-largest global market in terms of app downloads in 2021, according to a report by The CleverTap study demonstrates that mobile-first brands and businesses have an opportunity to reach underserved demographics in the world’s second-most populous nation and fastest-growing major economy.

Women have major purchasing power, led by E-commerce

The CleverTap study shows that recognizing the importance of women in household finances is a powerful marketing opportunity. Women in India drive over 70% of purchasing decisions, with their purchasing power reflected in key categories of app usage including social media apps, which increasingly convert sales, and e-commerce.

Key findings include:

  • Providers of EduTech, Social Media and Fintech apps in particular should consider marketing their apps to women. Women currently account for 37%, 32.5% and 31% of usage, respectively, and are major consumers of products and services in these sectors.
  • Indian women outpace men in E-commerce app usage, accounting for 54% of all usage. Global e-commerce brands would do well to create highly personalized and relevant commerce experiences for Indian women in order to drive revenue growth and cement customer loyalty.
  • Indian men account for a significant share of app interaction across several key verticals, including Gaming (94%), Travel and Transportation (84%), On-Demand Services (78%) and Media and Entertainment (77%). Overall, men account for 72% of mobile usage.


User retention remains a challenge

CleverTap analysis also confirms the pivotal importance of focusing on user retention. Uninstall rates are a challenge across all app categories, negating costly user acquisition (UA) campaigns and threatening companies’ potential growth. Uninstall rates are highest in the Gaming (44%) and Social Engagement (46%) sectors.

By contrast, sectors where users perceive a high degree of value and convenience have the lowest uninstall rates: On-Demand Services (21%) and Health and Fitness (25%). While these sectors are better at retaining users, losing nearly a quarter of a subscriber base is still alarming. Data-driven offers, loyalty programs, and hyper-personalized marketing and messaging are just some of the ways brands and businesses can stem attrition of these apps.

Rural India – a massive opportunity

Rural India is an underserved market on the cusp of seismic change. While app usage is currently 16.4%, the split across verticals, CleverTap data shows consumers across cities and areas outside metropolitan centers gravitate to apps that can help them improve their education and quality of life.

Key findings include:

  • Edutech (19.2%), Media and Entertainment (17.7%) and Fintech (17%) stand out as verticals that attract a disproportionately large number of rural users.
  • Adoption rates for Health and Fitness (13.2%) are at the low end of the scale, but personalized strategies — such as goal setting and reminder functionality — can increase these numbers.
  • Among urban users, adoption rates for Health and Fitness, E-commerce and Travel and Transportation are nearing saturation levels (85% and above). This dynamic underlines the importance of shifting focus to growth opportunities emerging in rural areas, where competition is lower, and returns are higher.


“Global events have radically changed consumer behavior, particularly among women, who now rely on apps as the go-to channel for all aspects of their lives,” said Sidharth Malik, Global CEO, CleverTap. “Similarly, rural users have come to depend on apps to make transactions or continue their education, and now view apps as a means to improve their lives. Understanding the striking and significant differences among user segments and preferences is the critical first step for companies to connect, convert and ultimately grow retention and lifetime value.


To understand mobile usage behavior and identify trends in app consumption across India, the CleverTap data science team analyzed over 300 mobile apps across different verticals, with an average monthly user base of more than 4 million. The usage behavior was broken down by location (Urban/Rural); by gender across verticals (Fintech, Edutech, Media and Entertainment, Health and Fitness, Travel and Transportation, E-commerce, Social Engagement); by responses to engagement campaigns across different channels and verticals; and Uninstall rates across verticals. More than 782 billion push notifications, 52 billion emails, and 10 billion in-app notifications were analyzed for this study.

About CleverTap

CleverTap is the modern, integrated, retention cloud that empowers digital consumer brands to increase customer retention and lifetime value. For brands that understand and value user retention, CleverTap drives context and individualization with the help of a unified and deep data layer, AI/ML powered insights and automation. Customers around the world representing over 10,000 apps, including Vodafone Idea, SonyLIV, Daimler, Gojek, Carousell, and Premier League, trust CleverTap to achieve their retention and engagement goals, growing their long term revenue. Backed by leading venture capital firms including Sequoia India, Tiger Global Management, and Accel, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Mumbai, Singapore, and Dubai. For more information, visit or follow on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

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