Mobile consumers download and use more apps than ever before. According to the latest data from App Annie, mobile users had 93 apps on their cell phones at the end of 2019, compared to 85 apps at the end of 2015. They are now also using around 41 apps per month, compared to 35 in 2015. In connection with this increase, users are now spending more hours per day with apps. Worldwide, the daily time spent in apps has increased to 3.1 hours per day in 2019, compared to 2.1 hours per day in 2015.
With this growth, however, the diversity among the top apps has also increased, the report says. This means that top apps now account for a smaller proportion of the total time spent on apps than five years ago.
It's worth noting that this report was commissioned by Facebook, App Annie says with the aim of taking a more detailed look at the evolving app ecosystem of the past five years. The report aims to determine how the growth of popular app categories among the top publishers is developing and how quickly new successful apps can achieve significant growth.
Facebook had previously generated this type of market research data first-hand through its Onavo VPN application, which has now been closed due to privacy concerns, and other similar measures.
If you contact the App Annie data team, this is just a new way for the company to access the same type of data.
App Annie's market analysis is partly derived in a similar way via third-party apps. The company acquired Distimo in 2014 and has been operating the Phone Guardian VPN app under the Distimo brand since 2016. The company acquired Mobidia in 2015 and operated My Data Manager (now in the App Store under Distimo). Both apps disclose their relationship with App Annie and use specific examples of the type of data collected to explain that the apps are used for market research purposes.
The results of the new report may not be all good news for Facebook and other top app publishers. With the development of the app economy, users now have more places to spend time on mobile devices.
Global downloads have continued to grow in the past five years, reaching a record $ 120 billion in 2019. Several key countries are driving growth, including India (10% growth year over year 2019), Brazil (9%) and Indonesia (8%) and Russia (7%).
Downloads in mature economies also reached record levels in 2019, including the United States (12.3 billion), Japan (2.5 billion), the United Kingdom (2.1 billion), South Korea (2 billion), Germany (1.9 Billion) and France (1.9 billion).
As users increased their app time to 3.1 hours a day, they also used more different apps. According to the report, 35 of the 100 best apps were newcomers in 2019, compared to 27 in 2016 in categories such as social affairs, photography, video, communication, entertainment and more.
This is likely to be worrying data for top app publishers like Facebook, which has had a number of top apps for years, including not only the flagship app, but also Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. With increasing competitive pressure, these top apps make up less of the time spent on mobile devices as users feel more comfortable trying out newbies – especially in the games, entertainment, and video categories.
The 30 best non-gaming apps accounted for 69.4% of the total time of US users in 2016 among non-games. This decreased to 65.5% in 2019, a decrease of almost 4%. In games, the proportion fell from 49% to 39%, which corresponds to a decrease of 10%. (This data comes from Google Play in the USA.)
Not only are consumers more open to trying out new apps, the report also found that new apps can quickly lead to success in the app store. In the United States, for example, over 60% of apps can reach the top 30 in their category in the first 6 months.
This is supported by larger initial marketing measures as well as improvements in the devices of the consumers themselves – for example by more storage and processing power, which encourages more downloads.
There are also more apps than ever before that are able to reach the milestone metric of 1 million active users per month (MAUs). In 2019, over 4,600 apps created 1 million MAUs, including those outside of social media and communication such as Netflix, Roku, Disney, CBS, Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart, Target, PayPal, Venmo, Chase, Capital One, Uber, DoorDash , McDonald & # 39; s. and Starbucks.
Apps also reach the milestones of 1 million downloads faster in the data analyzed from 2015 to 2018. In the video, finance, communication, social, photo and entertainment categories, 67% of apps reached the milestone of 1 million downloads within their first 12 months, says App Annie.
Due to the increases, there is now a lot of overlap between the top apps. Nowadays, mobile consumers often choose and use multiple apps within and between categories to meet similar needs, including social networks.
For example, in April 2020, 89% of Snapchat users in the United States also used YouTube and 75% also Instagram.
TikTok saw the largest increase in cross-app use of Snapchat compared to the previous year, rising from 17% in April 2019 to April 2020 – an indication of how much youth demography was recorded.
In the meantime, video apps and games take up more time for apps. This broad category of apps that focus on gaming accounted for 22% of the time spent on apps in 2019.
In addition, top gaming apps also implement social features, including top 50 games like Fortnite, Clash of Clans, Call of Duty: Mobil, Township, Star Wars: Galaxie der Helden, New Yahtzee With Buddies, Golf Clash and Slotomania.
More than two-thirds of the top 50 games have added at least one social feature, whether inviting friends to play, social support for progress, guilds or clans, or in-app chat. This in turn has resulted in players spending more time in games because they can connect with friends there.
Fortnite, a key example of this trend, launched Party Hub in September 2019 based on its acquired house party technology. In the three months after the rollout, the time spent in Fortnite increased by 130%.
Outside of games, TikTok has grown by combining elements from top categories like social media, video and entertainment. After the merger with Musical.ly, more video editing features were quickly introduced and advertising spending was aggressively increased in order to increase the user base and promote engagement. By December 2019, U.S. users spent an average of 16 hours and 20 minutes a month in the app, compared to 5 hours and 4 minutes in August 2018.
The full report also looks at country breakdowns, but overall found that most countries saw record downloads and similar trends in app usage and time spent in 2019.
A notable comparison point is that US users installed more apps than in other markets (97 vs. 93), but tend to use fewer apps compared to global trends (36 vs. 41). They also spend an average of a little less hours a day on apps than the global average of 2.7 hours versus 3.1 hours.
“This report shows that the app industry is more competitive today than ever. New companies are successful with innovative apps that meet the requirements that people may not even know they have, ”said Ime Archibong, head of Facebook's New Product Experimentation team, an internal team at Facebook, according to is looking for new models for social apps. "All of this selection and competition encourages innovation, and that is at the heart of what we do at Facebook," he added.
App Annie's report is available here upon request.