How Social Apps Held Their Ground In 2019

Even as streaming and gaming services reshape the mobile landscape, social and communication apps continue to hold their ground.

That’s according to App Annie’s latest State of Mobile report, which found that social and communication apps maintained a dominant 50% share of time spent among the world’s mobile users in 2019.

Relative to time spent with other app categories, that was only down by 6% since 2016.

Despite their established presence in the mobile marketplace, social and communication apps also remain a hot commodity.

In 2019, in fact, consumers downloaded 9.5 billion such apps, and spent 25% more time using them than they did in 2017.   

Along with the basic utility that they provide, the continued success of social and communications apps is due to their dual role as entertainment services, according to App Annie.

In 2019, no app had more success blending its social and entertainment features than TikTok.



Illustrating this point, the musician Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” began as a meme on the video-sharing app, and eventually reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 Records list.   

From 2018 to 2019, global time-spent on TikTok surged by 210%, although most of its users remain overseas. 

Stateside, anonymous question-and-answer app Yolo also had a breakout year in 2019, along with social-meets-dating app Hily, according to App Annie.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. and other markets around the world, hyper-local social apps have continued to take market share as consumers seek out more trusted and intimate connections.

Nextdoor, for one, has seen its use among U.S. smartphone owners grow by 65% since 2017, according to App Annie.

More broadly, worldwide app downloads totaled 204 billion in 2019, which was up by 45% since 2016, the app analytics firm found.

This growth was largely fueled by emerging markets, including India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Stateside, app downloads topped 12.3 billion, last year.

Worldwide, App Store users spent $120 billion, which was up 110% over the previous three years.  

Among U.S. App Store users, spending increased by 105% during the same period.
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