As we get stuck into 2024, it’s time to reflect on the remarkable year that Appnext has had. From helping our customers achieve and surpass their marketing goals to continuing to improve our cutting-edge discovery technology, we have been at the forefront of app discovery every day for millions of users globally.

Of course, the year has not been without its difficulties. However, we have risen to these industry challenges and continued to pioneer innovative strategies and solutions. This year marked significant strides in leveraging technological advancements to enhance user engagement and offer robust support to developers and advertisers. Among the advancements we are most proud of is our GenAI-based technology, which supports vernacular keyword recommendations, enabling the running of contextual ads in local languages with unparalleled precision and relevance. Our journey through 2023 has been shaped by a keen focus on helping our customers adapt to market trends and optimizing our services to meet the dynamic needs of the mobile ecosystem.

OOBE: End-to-End Experience Remains Vital

Appnext made waves back in early-2021 with the global launch of our Out of Box Experience (OOBE). This solution has revolutionized the app discovery experience by introducing personal app recommendations during the initial setup or boot of mobile devices. By leveraging this solution, advertisers gained the ability to engage with users right from the get-go, fostering a stronger connection between consumers and service providers.

Appnext’s OOBE products have been most impactful in enhancing the mobile journey for users and remain a critical component in completing the end-to-end mobile journey. This technology is more than just a feature; it’s a cornerstone in the user’s first interaction with their device, setting the tone for their entire mobile experience.

OOBE’s importance is in its ability to offer easy device customization via one click installs and provide users the flexibility to select apps and services they would like to have on their devices. This immediate engagement is both convenient for users and remains vital for OEMs to deliver a personalized and customized smartphone experience. Newly-purchased devices present an unparalleled opportunity for advertisers to engage with users during the device setup window; our research shows that the apps users install at this stage are likely to be used time and time again.

Our data shows noticeable patterns in user preferences and market dynamics in app installations via the Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) setup wizard shows. The top verticals for installs via OOBE include Shopping, Finance and Games, followed closely by Travel and Education. This trend highlights the power in OOBE in tapping into this critical period in which users are most open to exploring and downloading new apps, making it an opportune moment for app developers and advertisers to capture user attention. The dominance of these verticals in OOBE installations suggests a significant potential for growth and engagement in these sectors, as users tend to install and engage with these apps right from the start of their device usage.

The Impact of App Discovery on Global Installs

Our data highlighting vertical growth from 2022-2023 across various regions provides valuable insights into consumer behavior and market trends. Appnext’s discovery technology plays a crucial role in this landscape, especially for advertisers looking to capitalize on these trends to get their apps discovered.

In India, the surge in installs in the Puzzle genre (471%) and significant growth in the Entertainment (15%) and Travel and Local (43%) verticals demonstrate a diverse range of user interests. Appnext’s technology, which offers contextually relevant app recommendations, is particularly beneficial for advertisers in these booming categories. By placing their apps in front of users who are most likely to be interested, based on their current app usage and behavior, advertisers can achieve higher engagement and conversion rates. Moreover, the 118.3% growth in post-install events in the Business vertical suggests an increasing engagement level, where Appnext’s solutions can help maintain user interest through continued app discovery.

In the CIS region, the notable growth in Travel & Local (189%), Tools (208%), Puzzle (133%), and Communication (86%) verticals indicates a market ripe for diverse app offerings. The increase in post-install events in Food & Drinks (34.9%) and Entertainment (19.3%) also points to a more engaged user base. Appnext’s technology facilitates the discovery of new apps in these growing sectors, ensuring that users find the tools or entertainment they seek, which in turn benefits advertisers by placing their apps in a prime position for discovery and use.

For the SEA region, the remarkable increase in installs for Food & Drink (109%) and Music and Audio (477%) verticals, followed by Puzzle (60%) and Tools (59%), highlights the varied interests of users in these markets. The growth in post-install events for Food & Drink apps (6%) indicates sustained user engagement, where Appnext’s solutions can continuously introduce users to new apps within their interest sphere.

In Africa, the impressive growth in Shopping (111%) and Games (260%) verticals, along with a substantial increase in Tools (76%), suggests a dynamic market. The growth in post-install events in the Shopping category (11%) reflects a trend where Appnext’s technology can help sustain user engagement by recommending related apps or services, enhancing the user experience and benefiting advertisers.

LATAM‘s market shows a dramatic rise in Social (400%) and Food & Drink (400%) apps, followed by Entertainment (70%), Games (134%), and Tools (155%). The growth in post-install events in Shopping (21%) indicates the effectiveness in driving users to download apps and actively engage with them. Appnext’s discovery solutions can help advertisers tap into these growing verticals by making their apps more visible and accessible to the relevant audience.

Finally, in Europe and North America, the trends show a strong inclination towards Social, Games, and Tools apps, with significant growth in installs and post-install events. These trends underline the importance of Appnext’s discovery technology in these regions, where it can help advertisers break through the clutter and reach users effectively.

Appnext is well-positioned to capitalize on these regional trends, providing advertisers with a powerful tool to reach their target audience. By ensuring that relevant apps are discovered by the right users, Appnext both enhances the user experience and drives substantial growth for advertisers in these dynamic and evolving app markets.

The Trend Toward High-End Devices

The smartphone market in 2023 has shown diverse trends across different regions, which has further highlighted the importance of localization in Appnext’s approach to app recommendations. These regional differences show why a one-size-fits-all strategy in app marketing is less effective compared to tailored approaches.

As data shows, the global smartphone market experienced a marginal decline of 1% in Q3 2023. Samsung maintained its status as the top smartphone brand, Xiaomi’s stand out sales in emerging markets helped it rank third globally, with shipments reaching 41.5 million units and an annual growth of 2%. OPPO, including OnePlus, secured the fourth position with 26.4 million units shipped, accounting for a 9% market share.

In India, the smartphone market witnessed a significant transformation, with Chinese brands Xiaomi, Vivo, and OPPO collectively enjoying a remarkable 83% market share. This dominance reflects the growing influence and preference for Chinese brands in the Indian market. Xiaomi’s innovative product range, Vivo’s strong retail presence, and OPPO’s cutting-edge technology have all contributed to their combined market leadership. Their success underscores a shift in consumer preferences and the competitive dynamics of the smartphone industry in India, where these brands have outpaced other global and local competitors in capturing the majority of the market.

Appnext’s technology, has been instrumental in aligning with these market changes. Our platform has adapted to the varied user preferences that come with different device models and features. Appnext’s recommendation engine has evolved to consider these nuances, ensuring that users receive app suggestions that enhance their experience with these devices. We understand that users of premium smartphones are not just looking for any app; they seek applications that offer a superior user experience. This understanding helped us refine our solutions ensuring they are not only compatible with the advanced capabilities of high-end devices but also resonate with the quality expected from premium app stores.

In a market where users are increasingly discerning about the apps they download, especially on high-end devices, Appnext’s focus on quality and relevance has been a key factor in maintaining our position as a leading independent app recommendation platform in 2023.

Developers and marketers must pay attention to the trend toward high-end devices and  cater to the preferences of these users. Data shows high-end device users make more substantial in-app purchases and are more likely to invest in premium features, subscriptions, and virtual goods within apps. In addition, being featured in premium app stores, such as the Samsung Galaxy Store where only high-quality apps are selected, provides users with a sense of trust and confidence. Users are more likely to engage with these recommendations.

Android 14’s Customization Features

The introduction of advanced customization features in Android 14, particularly the lock screen customization options, presents exciting prospects for us moving forward. Users now have the flexibility to alter the clock’s size, shape and color, along with modifying lock screen shortcuts. This level of personalization aligns with Appnext’s approach to providing highly tailored app suggestions.

Android 14’s focus on enhancing efficiency, particularly through optimizations in background processes and power management, signifies an important shift for app developers. Apps that traditionally relied on precise alarms or continuous resource probing will now need to adapt to these changes. For developers, this means rethinking how their apps interact with system resources, ensuring compliance with Google’s new guidelines for foreground services and power usage.

The advancements in Android 14 offer a host of opportunities and challenges for app developers. Appnext is well-positioned to adapt to these changes, guiding users to apps that enhance their personalized Android experience. As we move forward, Appnext will  continue bridging the gap between these evolving technologies and user needs.

2024 and Beyond

With major developments in in the smartphone industry on the horizon, we are strategically positioned to capitalize on key trends shaping the market. The rapid adoption of 5G technology is a central focus, offering unprecedented opportunities for enhanced app functionalities and user experiences. Simultaneously, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will facilitate more personalized and intuitive app recommendations, utilizing AI-driven insights to cater to evolving user preferences.

The future challenge for the smartphone industry, including app recommendation platforms, lies in balancing innovation with user-centricity. Adapting to the changing landscape requires a keen understanding of both technological advancements and evolving consumer preferences. Success in this dynamic environment will depend on the ability to navigate these trends effectively, offering solutions that align with the new realities of the smartphone market.

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