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NEW DELHI: Indians were the second-highest downloaders of mobile games and applications through 2021, accounting for 11.6% of all app downloads around the world.

However, they do not spend much on mobile apps and games. The result: India does not even rank in the world’s top 20 nations, despite shelling out an estimated $170 million on mobile games. The findings were reported by market research firm App Annie in its State of Mobile 2022 report, released on Wednesday.

The report also reveals that Indians were the fifth-highest smartphone users in the world in terms of the number of hours spent on their phones per day. With an average of four hours and 42 minutes spent on their phones by each person every day, India ranks behind the likes of Brazil and South Korea, but ahead of nations such as Singapore, the US, and China in mobile phone usage.

In terms of collective hours spent by the country on mobile apps and games on Android devices, Indians increased their usage by 6.% year-on-year to spend 699.9 billion hours through 2021. The country’s usage is behind only China, whose collective figure incidentally fell 3.4% on year to stand at 1.12 trillion hours of mobile apps and games usage.

Interestingly, 2021 was the second year where India did not see a quarter-on-quarter growth in the number of hours spent using mobile apps and games. The report claims that on Android devices, Indians spent significantly lesser time gaming than before. While Q2 2020 witnessed 347.6 million hours of gaming, Q4 2021 saw gaming reduced to 186.7 million hours. This is down by 46.2% from the peak, which was witnessed during the months of the first lockdown enforced due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The numbers somewhat contradict the global smartphone market, which saw a decline of 6.5% in Q4 2021 in the number of hours spent by users on mobile gaming, since its peak in Q2 2020.

To be sure, despite accounting for significantly lesser usage time in comparison to social media and photography apps in India and around the world, mobile games continue to take the majority share of smartphone apps that generated over $100 million from users through 2021. Three of every four apps that crossed this figure were games, according to App Annie.

In India, cryptocurrency trading platforms also saw a clear rise in demand. Among finance apps, four of the top 10 apps downloaded in India through 2021 are cryptocurrency trading platforms--CoinSwitch, CoinDCX, WazirX and Binomo--taking the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th spots.

In the social media space, India is the only nation where TikTok does not feature in the list of the top three most downloaded apps through 2021. The Bytedance-owned short video social platform continues to remain banned in India, after the Indian government’s crackdown on apps with links to Chinese servers banned TikTok as part of over 250 such mobile applications. The latter is the highest downloaded app of 2021, and also the one with the highest amount of consumer spends.

Indians, however, chose to divert most of their spends on mobile apps to Hotstar, followed by dating app Tinder and professional social media, Linkedin.

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