App Usage Soars Worldwide

Worldwide, consumers spent nearly 900 billion hours using apps, in 2016. Since 2015, that represented an increase of more than 150 billion hours, according to a new report from App Annie.

On a daily basis, this translates to an average of roughly two hours per Android phone user.

Around the world, the increase in total time was broad-based, according to the data firm. Year-over-year, most countries experienced more than 20% growth -- with the United States growing by roughly 25%.

By App Annie’s reckoning, usage is an increasingly important barometer for the app economy.

Although downloads -- i.e., new app installs -- are important to consider, they do not tell the whole story. Rather, to really understand the app economy, usage metrics are critical. They reflect how often and for how long users engage with apps, and total time spent is chief among such metrics.

In 2016, publishers were paid over $35 billion in revenue across the iOS App Store and Google Play. This represented a 40% rate of yearly growth, surpassing 2015’s rate.



App Store alone grew by nearly 50% in 2016, increasing its lead as the highest revenue-generating platform. As with downloads, the increase in the iOS App Store's revenue was largely driven by China, which contributed nearly half of its annual growth.

Consistent with previous years, games were by far the revenue leaders. In 2016, games generated 75% and 90% of all app store revenue on the iOS App Store and Google Play, respectively. On the iOS App Store, the Role Playing Game subcategory alone generated half of all revenue growth in 2016.

In terms of absolute growth on Android phones, the top three categories in 2016 were communication, social and videos players and editors.

Within these categories, three “mega apps” -- Chrome Browser, Facebook, and YouTube -- were the biggest contributors of absolute growth in their respective categories.

In 2016, worldwide download growth followed roughly the same trajectory as in the previous year.

This resulted in annual downloads reaching over 90 billion -- an increase of more than 13 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play.

As in 2015, Google Play accounted for most of this growth, and especially in emerging markets.

Also of note, iOS downloads increased more in 2016 than they did in 2015. This was driven largely by China, which accounted for nearly 80% of iOS download growth, App Annie suggests.

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