Mobile App Usage Trends

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App Usage: A Closer Look

App usage trends show persistent behaviors that can directly affect app performance. But are the users influencing app design or is it the other way around?


What do the figures have to say?


Is mobile app usage higher than other digital media platform?

Mobile apps take 52% of all time spent on digital media. Also, 85% of users prefer native mobile apps over mobile websites. This preference is very evident with how the users spent 89% of their mobile media time on apps. Mobile app usage averages to 30 hours a month while mobile web usage is only a measly 3 hours and 45 minutes. 56% of smartphone owners and 26% of tablet owners utilize apps every day. And 79% of smartphone owners and 52% of tablet owners use apps at least 26 days a month, making apps a major part of a mobile device owner’s daily routine.


What is the demographics of frequent app users?

Female and male smartphone users use almost the same average amount of time on mobile apps. Even in different age brackets, there is no significant divergence in the amount of time spent on apps per month. The 18-24 age bracket spends an average of 37:06 hours on mobile apps every month. The 25-34 bracket, on the other hand, spends an average of 35:40 hours of app usage time. The 35-44 bracket is not far behind with 33:57 hours. Finally, figures start to diverge from 45-54 bracket with only an average of 25:26 hours on apps and in the 55+ bracket with 21:21 hours.


What type of apps are most utilized by users?

With the average time on app as the basis, game apps are the most utilized apps (43%) followed by social networking apps (26%), entertainment apps (10%), utility apps (10%), news (2%) and productivity apps (2%). According to Nielsen, the increase in app usage and popularity is due to the emergence of entertainment-based app categories. There are about 115 million entertainment app users with 76% of these users playing at least one game app. Time on entertainment apps is about 13:20 hours.  The most time spent are on gaming apps (10:02hrs); music apps place a far second (2:37hrs), and then sports apps (2:05hrs).


But according to research, most device owners mainly use five non-native apps installed from the App Store and on average use 26-27 apps each month. This seems to reflect App Store rankings where only a handful of apps continue to dominate.


What are the most promising app categories?

The music category is in the lead with an average of 79% time on music apps; followed by health and fitness with 51%, social networking with 49%, travel 28%, entertainment 22%, sports 16%, games 15% and news at 14%.


There’s more to consider on app categories than time spent, though. But over a span of two years (2014-2015), the lifestyle and shopping category grew exponentially (81%) in terms of app sessions. This is followed by utility and productivity apps (125%) and messaging/social apps (103%). Most entertainment categories like news & magazines (49%), music (33%) and games (30%) lagged behind. This indicates that lifestyle and shopping apps have frequent launches but the entertainment apps encourage more engagement. This could because users access shopping apps, do a specific transaction (like a purchase) and then end the session. Entertainment apps encourage a different form of user engagement compared to other app categories.


Are app retention rates improving?

There’s a 5% increase in apps used only once (abandoned apps) from 20% in 2014. In 2014, the percentage of apps used more than eleven times (retained apps) increased to 39% but decreased to 34% in 2015.


What app usage trends affect app design?

Research shows that 49% of users holds their smartphones using one hand, 36% cradle their phones; only 15% hold their phones with both hands and when they do, only 10% of these people use the device in landscape mode. The way users hold their devices may be also the reason why they are more comfortable interacting at the center of their device’s screen than at the corner or extreme edges of the display.



Main source: Go-Globe Infographic

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