Did you know that there were 175 billion app downloads in 2017 and that the average mobile user has around 80 apps installed?
The figures can be intimidating for companies wanting to carve an identity in the app world. However, acan still be a success and zooming into how users interact with apps can provide some answers.
Most people use around 10 apps in a day, often launching their first app within 5 minutes of waking up, that is, even before the morning coffee hits their lips. The Mobile Consumer Survey 2017 conducted by Deloitte among Australian smartphone users revealed that this trend is especially pronounced in 45-54-year-olds who now check their phones within 32 minutes (in 2017) of waking up as compared to 50 minutes (in 2015). Mobile apps are often also the last thing that users interact with before going to bed, despite health studies advising against it. The study identified signs of conscious change to disconnect with social media at bedtime: an increasing number of young people prefer to play games or read books on their smartphones before going to sleep. When it comes to limiting app usage, some users depend on an app again. Perhaps this irony effectively sums up our current dependence.
As of 2017, e-commerce, media, entertainment, and music are the most popular categories, while lifestyle, fitness and health-related apps are least popular. In 2017, Netflix topped the list of non-game apps by revenue, registering a growth of 138% YoY.
Although the app economy is growing, there are some winds of change. For instance, the time spent on apps is reaching saturation, with Flurry’s State of Mobile 2017 wrap-up reporting that time spent on apps in 2017 grew a meagre 6%, down from 11% in 2016. However, smaller time sessions are not always a bad thing. For one, it might be an indicator of an app’s efficiency, for example, a shopping app that enables faster checkout. The rise of fingerprint authentication and touchless technology to make payments on retail or banking apps is worth mentioning here.
Going forward, machine learning features like predictive text, voice assistants or face recognition will play an important part in mobile app evolution, as will augmented reality. Mobile apps will continue to penetrate our daily lives, transforming and often replacing the conventional ways we do things.