As the world entered 2017, we reached a major technological milestone: The first decade for mobile apps had passed.
Numbers from Flurry Analytics indicate that, across 940,000 applications, 2.1 billion devices and 3.2 trillion mobile sessions, the year 2016 saw an average of 11 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth in mobile app usage and 69 percent year-over-year growth in terms of average time spent on apps.
But while growth was steady overall, some changes in the distribution growth in different types of apps indicate that some big changes are coming to how mobile users consume media and engage with apps.
In 2016, session and time-spent growth in some app categories seem to have occurred at the expense of others, Flurry Analytics’ data shows. Messaging and social applications largely drove YoY growth in sessions, at 44 percent, while the personalization category saw a 46 percent decline in session usage growth over the year.
In terms of time spent, the differences are even more extreme. Messaging and social mobile apps say there was 394 percent growth in time spent in 2016, while mobile games, on the other end, saw a 4 percent decline in time spent.
Likewise, news and magazine mobile app sessions declined 5 percent in 2016, and Flurry further found that time spent in the music, media and entertainment mobile app category grew only 1 percent YoY. What this indicates is that social media applications have absorbed a significant portion of the media industry’s user base by allowing for native app access to media of all kinds.
The retail industry also saw growth in terms of mobile app usage over 2016, signifying that the growth in eCommerce isn’t only a desktop phenomenon. Flurry Analytics’ data found that time spent in shopping apps grew 31 percent YoY in 2016.
In terms of form factors, the data indicate that phablet devices — smartphones with a larger screen size closer to that of tablet devices — captured a 41 percent of the global mobile device market share in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from 33 percent in the first quarter.
The market shares of full-size and small tablets as well as medium-sized smartphones all fell to compensate — although medium-sized smartphones still held the market share majority as of the fourth quarter with 44 percent, down from 50 percent in Q1.