Commentary

Mobile App Usage Soars (Even More)

Smartphones dominate our lives, and mobile apps already dominate smartphone usage, so you might not think there’s room for us to become even more insanely addicted to them. But you’d be wrong! Oh, so wrong: App usage continues to soar in year-over-year comparisons, according to a new study conducted by Flurry, which tracks mobile trends.

The increase was fueled in large part by the growth in the global smartphone-using population, which jumped 33% from 1.4 billion in the second quarter of 2014 to 1.86 billion in the second quarter of 2015. Meanwhile the number of “regular users,” as Flurry dubs people who use apps one to 16 times per day, increased 25%, from 784 million to 985 million over this period; the number of “super users,” accessing mobile apps 16 to 60 times per day, jumped 34%, from 440 million to 590 million; and the number of “mobile addicts,” using apps over 60 times per day, exploded 59%, from 176 million to 280 million.

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In proportional terms, that means the number of  “regular users” decreased from 56% of the total user base in 2014 to 53% this year, while “super users” edged up from 31% to 32%, and the number of “mobile addicts” rose from 13% to 15%. In other words, the trend isn’t just due to increasing mobile penetration: a lot of people are using apps more than they were before.

Flurry also looked at which apps were most popular with “mobile addicts,” and found that -- surprise! -- messaging and social media led the way, with the addicted cohort overindexing by 556% in this category. Next up were utilities and productivity apps, where they overindexed by 427% (this category includes keyboard and Web browser apps), followed by games at 202%, and finance apps at 155%.

Flurry noted that productivity apps are the strongest growth category, especially among college students, who tend to be squarely in the “mobile addict” category. Turning to finance, Flurry noted that its findings jibe with a separate survey from Bank of America that found 48% of its customers are banking with mobile apps.

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