Indians spent over 3.5 hours on their smartphones every day in 2019

Dear device.
Dear device.
Image: AP Photo/Manish Swarup
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India’s love affair with smartphones is no secret.

These devices are the last thing 80% of users in the country see before they sleep. Switching their phones off makes them feel bored, sad, and disconnected. No wonder, then, they are always glued.

“Mobile-first emerging markets like Indonesia, Brazil, and India continue to spend the most time in mobile each day,” App Annie’s State of Mobile 2020 report, released on Jan. 16, said.

Unlike other emerging markets, Indians’ daily hours spent on smartphones (3 hours and 30 minutes) is still below the weighted global average of 3 hours and 40 minutes. However, this still trumps mature markets like Japan, the US, and the UK.

Average Daily Hours Spent Per Device
Time spent.
Image: App Annie

Moreover, India’s mobile usage soared 25% between 2017 and 2019, second only to China’s 60%.

Indians are obsessed with using smartphones for everything from making TikTok videos and streaming music and podcasts to communicating with people and even watching porn. They downloaded over 19 billion apps in 2019, a 190% rise since 2016, the world’s highest. However, spending is still low. They contributed only $120 million, a mere 0.3% of the total consumer spending on mobile apps. 

Yet, mobile brands see potential.

For instance, Beijing-based Xiaomi, the market leader for now, continually launches new devices. Rival South Korean phone-marker Samsung recently invested $500 million in the country and it’s battling for the number one spot.