There are over a million apps in the Google Play Store, but how many apps do people use on a day-to-day basis? We recently looked into why messaging apps dominate the market in Indonesia, so we wanted to explore which types of apps people use on their smartphones on a daily basis in three of our largest markets—Brazil, India, and Indonesia.


Daily App Usage by Category
We measured the average number of apps used daily per user in India, Brazil, and Indonesia during the month of May. The leaders were clear—the two categories with the highest average of apps used were Communication and Utility, with over four apps used daily. The popularity of the Communication category was not entirely surprising, given that 97% of mobile users in Indonesia access messaging apps multiple times per day. But the daily demand for several types of Utility apps hints at a larger trend in emerging markets and how these smartphone users are utilizing their devices.

What is a Utility app and why is it popular?

Jana categorizes Utility apps to include Productivity, Personalization, and Tool categories from the Google Play Store. These apps make smartphones work faster and more efficiently, provide access to documents on the go, or personalizes a device with ringtones and screensavers. Two examples of popular Utility apps in the United States are Emoji Keyboard and Google Docs.


For smartphone users in emerging markets, these Utility apps are essential. Since those in emerging markets often can't afford the data needed to use smartphones to their full potential, they need these apps to help them compress data and make their phones run as efficiently as possible.

Three apps top the list across countries

When we looked at the lists of top apps in the Google Play Store in the Productivity, Tool, and Personalization categories, three apps dominated across all three countries:


All three apps were number one in each category across all three countries at date of publication, with the exception of DU Battery Saver at number two in the Productivity category. Each app offers something a little different to the user:


  • DU Battery Saver does exactly what it sounds like it does—helps users optimize their smartphone settings to solve battery problems and extend the life of their smartphone battery.

  • Clean Master is an anti-virus, privacy protector, and speed booster app all rolled up into one. It features AppLock, which allows the user to lock apps, photos, or videos so that only they have access to them. Clean Master also frees up memory, manages unwanted apps and deletes them from the device, and protects the device from viruses and spyware.

  • Hola Launcher is a home launcher app that optimizes the smartphone user’s device for speed, memory, and privacy. Through Hola, users can use voice search to find apps on their device, create folders to organize their homepage, and create a smart menu of their most-used apps at their fingertips.

Utility apps address privacy concerns

Thanks to the availability of affordable devices, the number of people online in these three countries is ballooning. One-third of the 137 million mobile phone users in Brazil use a smartphone. India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market globally. Smartphone penetration in Indonesia is set to almost double by 2018. But as smartphones become these newly-connected users’ primary computing device, concerns over privacy increase.


Statistics Showing Smartphone Growth in Emerging Markets


Since Android is an open source platform, the concern about malware and viruses is very high. Smartphone users are also wary of the safety of their personal information—photos, personal conversations shared in messaging apps, passwords, and email ID’s—and they want to do anything they can to protect themselves, and Utility apps like Clean Master help them do just that.

Budget smartphones become more powerful with Utility apps

While these budget smartphones are often people’s first and only connection to the Internet, the devices’ capabilities are limited. Devices as cheap as $29 have shortened battery lives and limited smartphone memory. Users want to optimize their phones for battery life and RAM storage and use apps such as DU Battery Saver and Hola Launcher to do it.

Emerging markets present opportunity for utility app developers

While these Utility apps may not be the most exciting apps in the Play Store, they solve a problem that many smartphone users in emerging markets face on a daily basis. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users worldwide and as accessibility grows through cheaper smartphones, the demand for these types of apps will increase. For developers of Tool, Productivity, and Personalization apps, countries such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil are full of opportunity to get their apps into the hands of users who crave them.


Jana can help get your app discovered by people who need it.