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Indians smarten up with business apps

Last updated on: February 17, 2011 09:25 IST

Indians smarten up with business apps

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Business-focused applications contribute 27 per cent to the total downloads in India and are the third-most popular apps downloaded, after music and social networking.

This was found by a recent study on smartphone users by handset manufacturer Nokia and Trevor Pinch, sociologist and professor of science and technology studies at Cornell University.

The study carried out in 10 countries - India, Singapore, China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US - reflects the growing use of the mobile platform for trading.

"Business applications overtook photos and personalisation apps, even games. In terms of usage, too, business apps contributed 28 per cent and utilities 21 per cent to the total download, overtaking earlier favourite, gaming," said Pinch.

According to the study, 48 per cent Indians think it's important to have the most recent technologies and applications on their handsets.


Image: Business apps are third-most popular apps, says Nokia
Photographs: Reuters
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It's not just trading applications that have caught the fancy of 700 million mobile users. Interest in utility-based applications like bill payments and travel applications is also rising.

"The report's findings show that Indians prefer business-focused applications like email and expense managers," said Pinch.

Thirty-eight-year-old Vaishali Verma, for instance, has been using his mobile for trading in securities since last September, when the Securities and Exchange Board of India allowed mobile trading.

Verma, from Buhranpur, Madhya Pradesh, downloaded an application, or facility, offered by a broking house in the first month itself and has since been trading on the move.

"I don't have to sit down in front of computer. I can trade as well as get other things done," he claims.

Another new-age investor, Lala Ram Chaudary, a mobile technician from Manish Market at Victoria Terminus Station, Mumbai, uses his BlackBerry to buy and sell stocks.


Image: Some use BlackBerry for trading
Photographs: Reuters
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"I trade often and trading for longer hours requires a high-speed internet connection on the phone. So, I have even moved to WiFi connections," he says.

Verma and Chaudary are examples of such new-age Indian traders, who prefer using stock market applications to buy and sell stocks.

At present, around 52 per cent of the eight million investors in India are cash traders, while the online trading segment accounts for 12 to 15 per cent.

However, only less than one per cent of the total investors are leveraging the mobile platform. Experts, nonetheless, exude confidence that it could reach 15 per cent of the total trade in two-three years.

Vinay Agrawal, executive director at Angel Broking, claims trading worth Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) takes place through the company's mobile application, Angel Swift, which offers basic charting of stocks and live information on stock prices.


Image: Around 52 per cent of eight million investors in India are cash traders
Photographs: Reuters
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Angel Broking offers a common identity for internet and mobile trading, making it easy for investors to cross-check portfolios seamlessly.

"It is not a great number, but it is very encouraging and the growth has been very fast. We hope, as smartphones get cheaper, these numbers will receive a boost," says Agrawal.

Value-added service providers have noted the change.

"There has been a dramatic increase in business applications in the last 18 months. Until now, it had been just entertainment and social networking apps," says Badri Sanjeevi, chief operating officer, Mauj Mobile, a mobile content provider.

Agrees Jagdish Mitra, the chief executive of CanvasM, a Tech Mahindra subsidiary that works exclusively on business apps.

He says the key reasons for an increase in the downloads of business-related applications are maturity in the market and increased use of smartphones.

Sanjeevi of Mauj observes users of business apps tend to be brand conscious.
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Image: Users of business apps tend to be brand conscious
Photographs: Reuters
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We see a lot of downloads of reputed apps like Moneycontrol and Bloomberg. Branded apps have high-quality content and are updated regularly. Most users are concerned about security and, hence, prefer branded apps."

Business apps are also designed to target Sec-A and Sec-B users who use smartphones. Experts believe, going ahead, these users won't hesitate paying for downloads if apps are provided for a small fee.

Mobile analytics company Informate estimates utility-based apps constitute 56 per cent, the highest, of the total applications installed on smartphones. It beat multimedia-based apps, games, chat and messaging, even as Facebook and Timescape remain the most-accessed apps on smartphones.

"This is an area of longtail consumption, where there is an app for everyone. Get ready to see apps designed for just a specific set of people in the near future," says Mitra.


Image: Facebook is the most-accessed app on smartphones
Photographs: Reuters
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