Indian smartphone users aren’t as obsessed with e-commerce as investors are

Hailing a ride?
Hailing a ride?
Image: EPA/Piyal Adhikary
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Electronic commerce attracts the lion’s share of venture capital investment in India, but not the lion’s share of interest among consumers—at least not on mobile.

Based on mobile app downloads in the third quarter, the travel category—which includes on-demand taxi aggregators—is far more popular, accounting for 48% of the total mobile app downloads in India from July through September, according to date from the mobile advertising firm InMobi.

Mobile commerce didn’t even make the top three categories; it ranked fourth. And the number of downloads declined from the previous quarter.

While InMobi did not share the sample size used for this report, the Bengaluru-based company reaches over 1.4 billion users.

Travel as a category is a favorite among users of both smartphones and tablets, InMobi said. But when it comes to shopping online, tablets are the preferred device. “The relatively larger screen size of tablets offers an unparalleled convenience for users when browsing and shopping for products via apps,” the firm notes.

Even as the app versus website debate continues—and several entrepreneurs take contradicting views on the issue— InMobi’s research shows that across different categories, Indian users are opting for apps over websites when it comes to accessing the internet.

That goes for smartphones …

… as well as tablets.