Commentary

Personalization Apps See Steep Usage Declines

Over the past year, overall app usage grew by 11%, according to new findings from Flurry.

Even more impressive, time spent in apps grew by 69%, year-over-year.

Yet, a closer look at the data shows that, unlike in previous years, all app categories are not growing in tandem.

“This year the story is different,” Simon Khalaf, SVP at Flurry parent Yahoo, notes in the new report.

“After shifting the Web and television to the rearview mirror, mobile apps started eating their own, with session and time-spent growth in some app categories occurring at the expense of others,” according to Khalaf.

“While Messaging and Social applications drove year-over-year session growth at 44%, the Personalization category gave up a staggering 46% in session usage,” Khalaf pointed out. “This steep decline in usage can be attributed to diminishing value for users of these products.”

Time spent in Social and Messaging apps grew by an astounding 394% over the last year, proving to be the driver that helped mobile achieve its year-over-year time-spent growth of 69%.

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“This is a result of consumers using their social and messaging apps as their voice and video calling utilities, as well as the phenomenon we call 'communitainment,'” Khalaf said.

With news and magazines sessions down 5% -- and music, media and entertainment up only 1% -- it’s safe to say that social has absorbed the media industry, Khalaf concluded.

Meanwhile, business and finance -- up 43% in time spent -- and sports (up 25% in time spent) categories were immune to growth decay because they are intrinsically centered around mobile activities and rely on real-time data.

Moving ahead, “We anticipate further growth in these categories as users continue to shift daily habits away from traditional media channels -- i.e., watching live sports, market reports and the morning news on their TVs -- to the apps on their phones,” Khalaf projected.

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