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In China, a Broad Affinity for Apps

In-app purchases more common in China vs. the US

Apps have lost none of their sheen for smartphone users in China.

In March 2013, three-quarters of the country’s smartphone users on the iOS or Android platforms had used six apps or more that month, according to a survey by mobile ad network inMobi; 27% reported using more than 21 apps. That’s a significant number of people opening up and using apps. eMarketer estimates there will be 321.9 million smartphone users in China this year, or one-third of mobile phone users.

Not only were smartphone users engaging with apps they’d already installed, they were also keeping their eyes out for new app offerings. More than 90% of smartphone users downloaded new apps during the month, with 57% downloading more than 10.

Interest in finding new apps in China is notably higher than in the US. Whereas half of US smartphone users searched for new mobile apps at least weekly, that number rose to 63% in China. And only 28% of China’s smartphone users reported rarely or never looking for a new app, compared with 40% who said the same in the US.

In China, there was also a greater tendency to be influenced to download an app based on what was featured in the app store—a boon to app developers and marketers if they can garner high app store rankings. Reviews in magazines as well as the app store were also more influential in China than in the US. Consumers in the US said price was a much bigger concern to them when deciding whether to download a new app.

Once absorbed by these apps, users in China were also quite receptive to making in-app purchases. Forty-six percent of the country’s smartphone users reported making in-app purchases, compared with 37% of US smartphone users.


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