ExpenZa is a free Android app and automates expense tracking by intercepting the expenditure SMS message sent by your bank. It uses the information contained in the SMS message to automatically populate your expense list. ExpenZa can also be used without a bank’s SMS service by manually adding expenses, for keeping track of the cash in your wallet for example. The app allows the user to create a monthly budget with different expense categories and a budget amount for each category. The total spent for each category is shown which gives the user a continuous overview of their spending throughout the month. This helps them to make adjustments necessary to keep to their budget.
All the app stores were configured to allow only downloads from South Africa. The app also went through five updates during the period under study. This was mostly to add the functionality to recognise a larger variety of sms‘s, but some additional features requested by users were added (e.g. to be able to import historical sms‘s from your inbox) and the un-escapable bug fixes. What is encouraging is the amount of user feedback received as well as the variety of users who forwarded sms‘s not currently recognised by the app to be included. App downloads were tweeted daily from their account (@AppositionC) with hashtag #MarketDownloadChallengeZA.
Some overall stats:
â— The app was launched on 24 November 2011 at Mobile Web Africa
â— This analysis covers the period up to 18 January 2012
â— Total days: 54 days
â— Total downloads: 2044 (The metric used was total downloads and not nett downloads as only the Android market supply information on uninstalls)
â— Average downloads per day: 40
The graph above indicates the following results per app market:
In the Android Market, the app showed a very high initial growth rate but thereafter tapered off. This could be as a result of all the initial press releases and overall mobile marketing pointing to the Android Market. Thanks to Google and InMobi for their sponsorship of some ad credits! Another important consideration to take into account is that it is difficult to have your app promoted as a feature app on the Android Market.
In the Vodacom App Store the app showed a slower initial growth but then overtook the Android Market. This could be as a result of ExpenZa being listed as one of the featured apps in the store and that the app was mentioned in an official press release issued by Vodacom that was published in both the paper and digital media. The results indicate that users are excited about and receptive to a local carrier app stores and they trust a brand like Vodacom. The tapering off of the app could be as a result of the market often being unavailable for downloads due to overload conditions.
Samsung Apps showed a very slow start. Apps in the Samsung App Store follow a rigorous certification process before they are published and can take approximately two weeks. Therefore the Samsung App Store was always at least 2 weeks behind the other stores in terms of releases. Sometimes, the next release was available on the other stores even before the release was certified in the Samsung Store. However, growth continued at a high rate which shows no indication of slowing. This could be as a result of Samsung users preferring the Samsung Store to the Android Market and the promotion of the app by Samsung as a listed featured app. In addition Samsung‘s large market share of Android smartphones in South Africa is highlighted when taking into account that more than 50% of downloads on the Android Market and an unknown amount of Vodacom App Store downloads are Samsung devices. Adding an app to the market is difficult as every device group has to be added individually (In ExpenZa‘s case more than 10 times).
So which App store should you publish to? Unfortunately developers have to go through the effort of publishing to all three as they appeal to different users. The extra visibility gained by being featured on the Vodacom and Samsung Stores is very valuable, and they seem to do more to help promote local apps from local developers.
The results also highlight what seems to be an out performance of the Android Market by Vodacom’s App Store. This shows that there is room and enthusiasm for carrier apps stores and other niche app stores in South Africa from established brands that consumers trust.
Apposition Consulting will keep on monitoring the situation and provide an update in the future. In the mean time, follow Apposition Consulting on Twitter (@AppositionC) for a daily update under the hashtag #MarketDownloadChallengeZA.