Pakistan Leads App Market Growth in 2022-Report

According to a survey from a private markets intelligence platform, Data Darbar, Pakistan became the fastest-growing app market in terms of downloads in 2022, with a 35.4 percent increase over the previous year.

The Pakistan app market increased three times faster than China, which came in second with an increase of just more than 10%. India ranked third in terms of growth.

According to Data Darbar, Pakistan’s mobile industry had great growth in applications for the fourth year in a row, with 3.52 billion downloads, putting the nation in ninth place globally in 2022, up three notches from the previous year.

EasyPaisa and JazzCash were the top downloaded applications in the financial category, with around 15 million monthly active users each. Zindigi, a digital wallet from JS Bank, was also heavily advertised. Meanwhile, despite a surge in downloads, digital lending applications saw a regulatory crackdown in 2022.

According to the study, Pakistanis spent 161 billion hours on mobile in 2022, ranking sixth in terms of hours, the same as they did in 2021. In 2021-22, the pace of rise in average data usage reduced to 11.5 percent over the previous year. However, the average data use has more than tripled since 2017-18.

Among peer countries, Pakistan overtook Philippines for the first in terms of downloads in 2022. Bangladesh had a successful year as well, making the list with about 2.5 billion downloads.

Mobile app downloads in Pakistan increased by 35%

Pakistan ranked second only to Indonesia in terms of the number of outstanding active applications from local publishers. However, in terms of momentum and usage, only a few locally built apps made it to the top of the app chart in Pakistan. Pakistan has the second-highest number of publishers among peer nations, with 4.9K. This figure exceeds that of Bangladesh and Egypt combined. However, several publishers are located overseas for legal or other reasons, which may understate numbers for not only Pakistan but other emerging countries.

Meta and ByteDance (TikTok) were among the top 10 most downloaded applications in Pakistan. WhatsApp Messenger’s popularity began to diminish in 2021, while WhatsApp for Business grew in popularity. CapCut, Bytedance’s video editor, was the greatest winner.

Meanwhile, despite never receiving much attention from the media or marketing, Snapchat’s growth has remained uninterrupted. Telecommunications products continued to dominate among Pakistan-based developers, a tendency seen not only in Pakistan but also in other emerging countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The odd one out on the list was Universal TV Remote Control, demonstrating how the opportunity in tools is genuinely worldwide. Codematics, a digital startup located in Abbottabad, estimates that the app has over 100 million users.

Alibaba achieved tremendous advances in the retail segment as a result of its continued engagement with Pakistani businesses. It enabled it to overtake Daraz in terms of downloads, despite its significant client acquisition via cricket streaming.

According to the survey, short format video has soared throughout the world since COVID, including Pakistan, where the top five apps (excluding Tiktok) had 36 million downloads in 2021. Installs fell to 21.6 million, although the category maintained its position on Google Play’s ‘top grossing’ table. Audio streaming continued to grow in 2022, with 23.5 million downloads of the top five applications. More than half of them came from Spotify alone, as the streaming behemoth expands its presence in the Pakistani marketplace. According to the data, Starmaker has doubled its installs to appear on the top rankings.

Tamasha increased its downloads in video streaming, most likely due to its cricket streaming, topping Netflix by a wide margin. ARY ZAP has also emerged as a prominent player on the scene. However, the category has remained primarily reliant on cricket broadcasting to attract viewers and has low retention rates.

The report was prepared by Data Darbar that is a private markets intelligence platform for emerging markets that brings insights from Pakistan’s tech-driven economy.



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Rizwana Khan

Dreamer by nature, Journalist by trade.

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