App downloads rocket globally


Markets analysed averaged nearly 30% growth in average daily time spent in apps versus 2015

App downloads went up by 60% in the two years from 2015 to 2017, with associated consumer spend at $86 billion over the same period, up 105%, according to a new study from App Annie.

App Annie has announced its 2017 Retrospective Report, which showed that each user spent  1.5 months in apps per year, up 30% over the two year period. Global app downloads surpassed 175 billion in 2017; this equates to nearly two apps downloaded every month per human being on the planet.

As apps become an increasingly critical channel for virtually all consumer businesses in all industries, App Annie said it has seen the number of apps available across Google Play and the iOS App Store expand to more than six million. In response, app marketing, particularly app store optimisation and paid user acquisition, has become increasingly critical for those looking to stand out.

In most markets analysed, the average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone and uses close to 40 of them each month, the study showed. This roughly equates to between one third and one half of the apps on users’ phones used each month on average.

Markets analysed averaged nearly 30% growth in average daily time spent in apps versus 2015. Apps’ share of consumer attention continues to grow and has become the most critical channel for customer interactions. Higher use is emerging in mobile-first markets. Mobile is truly the first screen in these markets as many users have skipped the desktop generation entirely.

Emerging markets such as India and Brazil are in the early stages of app maturity. Vast download numbers are driven by new smartphone owners discovering and experimenting with new apps.

In mature markets, apps have become central to users’ lives. Early adopter behaviour (as seen in emerging markets,) has stabilised, while engagement and spend continues to climb as users settle into their go-to apps.

China is a tale of two markets. Tier 1 cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, and tier 2 cities, such as Hangzhou and Chengdu, have reached advanced levels of app maturity and are generating significant revenue for app publishers. Lower tier cities and rural areas are still in the process of adopting mobile, resulting in explosive download growth and creating massive future revenue potential as the market matures.

Four of the top five countries by downloads are emerging markets, with China significantly in the lead with billions of downloads up 125% from 2015, India in second place up 215%, then the US, down 5% in third place, Brazil in fourth up 20%, and finally Russia up 30%.

As these markets continue to mature, the opportunity to monetise will be massive, said App Annie. App usage grew rapidly in India, driven by the introduction of subsidised, unlimited 4G access by Jio in September 2016. Despite growth stabilising, App Annie said we are still seeing a significant volume of absolute downloads in mature markets. For example, in the US, on average, users downloaded three apps per month, with over 70% of users downloading at least one app per month.


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