Amid the rapid growth of mobile internet users in India, a recent study conducted by mobile advertising firm InMobi has shown that at least one in five mobile internet users have already made an in-app purchase, which means buying a product or service within a specific application. The study, which was conducted between May and June 2014 and covered 455 smartphone users in India to understand consumer behavior of mobile messaging apps, showed that Indians prefer price points between Rs 71- 129 for making such in-app purchases. These purchases are mainly additions to the applications, to get additional features such as emoticons, games, stickers and virtual currency, among others. "The study showed that 95% of messaging app users in India access messaging apps multiple times in a day and that messaging apps were the preferred way for communication, bypassing even social networks and voice calls," InMobi said in a release. "Young mobile users in the age group 18-24 are leading the charge on using messaging apps. Interestingly, the older generation (35 - 44 years of age) is also taking to these apps, driven by their ease of use." Additionally, the survey said that reasons which influenced users to download mobile messenger apps, include, staying in touch with friends, sharing photos and videos, staying in touch with family, group messaging and cost benefits. Browsing app stores, word-of-mouth and mobile advertisements are the top three drivers of mobile messaging apps amongst users, the survey showed.
Television advertisements and outdoor appear to have limited influence on driving adoption of mobile messaging apps, it added. "A healthy average of three messaging apps per user indicates that messaging platforms are evolving into audience platforms that can be leveraged for entertainment and commerce. With 38% of users likely to make a purchase on these platforms as well as a higher smartphone penetration, there will be an increase in offerings to enrich consumer experience," said Jayesh Easwaramony, vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at InMobi. "We also see advertisers using these platforms for emotional engagement as well as experimenting with launching services that they have already done in their home markets like Japan and China." According to Gartner, mobile connections in India will grow to 815 million in 2014, an 8% increase from 755 million connections in 2013. Additionally, the information technology (IT) research firm has said that growing apatite for value-added or over-the-top (OTT) services remains one of the biggest challenges for Indian mobile operators.