It’s no news that Smartphones and mobile apps have completely transformed our lives.
My 65 year old mother-in-law, Anjana, recently bought her first Smartphone. She bought it because she couldn’t learn to use the laptop even after trying multiple times, and her clients from her home furnishing business communicate with her through emails. However, now she is happy; because not only has she become adept at email communication but also at communicating with her clients via Whatsapp. She now shares pictures with my daughters (her grand-daughters), and her nieces and nephews in US.
This is not the story of Anjana alone. It is the story of the modern day India.
It’s no news that Smartphones and mobile apps have completely transformed our lives. The impact that these tools have had in the story of India is, especially, truly noteworthy. Millions of stories similar to Anjana’s are mushrooming all across India, empowering small businesses, consumers, and individuals at large.
Over the last decade, we saw multiple online businesses transform our lives and the way we carry out our day-to-day activities. Quoting some of the most prominent examples – Flipkart transformed the way we did shopping, Justdial changed the way we searched for local businesses, Zomato changed the way we ate out, MagicBricks transformed how we buy, sell, or rent real estate, Naukri transformed the job search and recruitment space, and Makemytrip did it to our travel. Now that we are entering the Smartphone revolution, all of these and the likes of these are also, simultaneously, transforming and evolving to become mobile-friendly. In fact, the latest stats for these companies show that their mobile traffic is increasing month after month. With the number of Smartphone users assessed to grow to 200 Million in the next 4 years, the tremendous increase in mobile traffic is bound to happen.
However, the space of mobile apps is unique and more challenging than online services. This is because, unlike the customer mind-share required for online services, the mobile app mind-share is quite different. Companies have to think and work on whether they have the kind of frequency of use that warrants them to be on the home screen of their customer’s smartphone.
The recent wave of Smartphones is such that businesses and companies understand it in a great way. Now, companies have a mobile app for every need of the customer. If its morning news, you have Newshunt; if it is a Cab or an auto that you need for office, you have got Ola; if you’re stuck (or do not wish to get stuck) in a traffic jam – Google Maps; if you need movie tickets for the evening – Bookmyshow; Shopping – Flipkart app; Block call spammers – Truecaller; and if you want to catch up with friends anywhere in the world – Whatsapp and Facebook. The list goes on.
However, we also have a constantly brewing problem in this domain. Every day, hundreds of new mobile apps are launched on various platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, etc.). The average user has just enough mind-share and is eventually unable to consume so many apps at once. As a result, there is a likeliness of two things happening – first, that there is going to be a winner in each category, with only the top 2-3 apps surviving in that category. And second, that there is going to be a consolidation of multiple apps under one mega-app. In China, the latter is exactly what happened; take for example ‘Wechat’ and ‘Tencent’. A Mega-app is ‘One app for all’ – shopping, movies, taxi, chat, restaurants, and payments.
As the market trends clearly suggest, the future belongs to mega-apps and not specialized apps. Mega-apps, which are home to many specialized apps and do all types of things that a user wants – friends, entertainment, shopping, movies, taxi, restaurants, groceries, payments, directory listing – all in one, connected, and working seamlessly. And China has clearly established that mega-apps work well.
And now, India is ready for mega-apps.
By Sameer Grover, CEO and Founder, Crown-it