Can mobile applications be a gauge of how consumers are behaving, what interests them and where the future is going? Apps are a fundamental piece of the mobile ecosystem, one that consumers use in droves and that hints at patterns and interests. App Annie’s latest global study on mobile apps can be read almost as a guide to the world in transition from the covid context to the post-pandemic market.
Those responsible for the study speak, in fact, that the figures make it clear that there are already signs of global recovery. To this must be added that not only are pre-pandemic habits returning, but others have already become part of the day-to-day basics.
Gaming is going nowhere
It is not the first study to say so. It will not be the last. Gaming was already important before the pandemic, but the crisis has accelerated the download of mobile games. Consumers spend time on them and use them on a recurring basis. Games have been the most downloaded apps during the second quarter of this year, with casual games dominating this leading group.
Although they are not the category that grows the most, they do have an outstanding growth. The global data for game downloads is 2,970,000 million downloads, 30% more than in the quarter that uses the comparison scale (the quarter of 2019, the last ‘normal’).
The mobile is the center of the day to day
Seeing the other categories that dominate the download lists and their growth data help to perceive that the smartphone has become the epicenter of daily life, almost without debate. In this order, the other most downloaded apps are tools (with a 45% growth), entertainment (+ 35%), finance (30%) and business (+ 75%).
The overwhelming growth of these latest evidence that the smartphone is not only the center of our personal life, but also of our work. Business apps are, in fact, the second most time spent, with an average of 405 million hours per month and a growth of 30%. They are only exceeded by 545 million hours of social networks.
The third point is those of the hours of photo and video apps, 120 million and an overwhelming growth of 375%. These data can be completed with those of the apps in which we spend the most. Games are the ones that accumulate the most spending, but not the ones that have grown the most.
Their growth has been 40% and they move 6,670,000 million dollars worldwide. They are followed by entertainment ($ 950 million and a 70% growth), social 760 million and + 80%), photos and videos (725 million and an increase of 120%) and books and reference ( 420 million and + 100%). In photo and video, we must not forget that there are all the apps that allow access to live video services, such as video calls.
The return to life more similar to the pre-pandemic
Apps and usage patterns also help to understand how consumers are recovering somewhat ‘normal’ life. Purchase patterns and services that had disappeared with the crisis are returning with the deployment in vaccination and with the exhaustion of the pandemic reality. Nothing better to see than the travel industry.
Tourism marketing is ignoring the covid and seeking to capture travelers anyway, but also the patterns of use of apps also make it clear that people return to the old way. The average hours spent on travel and navigation apps (such as Google Maps) has skyrocketed in the northern hemisphere, which has entered this period in the summer, the travel season.
Just as the time spent in travel apps makes it clear that we are returning to pre-pandemic patterns, the times of use of the apps also show that certain behavior patterns of the pandemic will remain well beyond the crisis and consumer reaction to that context.
The usage times of apps confirm a future in which consumers will use more delivery services and fitness subscriptions, all to do from home, but also that work has changed. The future is hybrid, as it is clear from the fact that millions of hours are still being spent in apps related to teleworking.