January 14, 2014
Mobile App Growth Explodes By 115 Percent In 2013
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
"For the past five years, we have watched mobile disrupt every industry, in every country, and continue to break its own records year after year. 2013 did not disappoint," wrote Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Flurry Analytics.
Flurry noticed that not only has app usage grown, but every app category has grown in the past year. Some apps have seen more growth than others, however. The most growth was seen in messaging and social apps (203 percent), utilities and productivity apps posted 149 percent growth in usage. The category speaks to growing reliance on mobile phones and tablets.
"Utilities and Productivity apps posted 150% growth in use year-over-year, as smartphones and tablets became personal computers and productivity apps, such as Evernote and Quip, gained sophistication and adoption. Even gaming, which was feared to reach saturation levels in 2013, posted 66 percent year-over-year growth in use," Khalaf wrote.
Additional categories include music, media and entertainment (78 percent); lifestyle and shopping (77 percent); games (66 percent); sports, health and fitness (49 percent); and news and magazines (31 percent). The overall median for app growth was 115 percent for the year.
While growth was seen across the board, one category in particular skyrocketed in 2013.
"The segment that showed the most dramatic growth in 2013 was Messaging (Social and Photo sharing included). The growth in that segment should not come as a surprise to many, given the attention that messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, KakaoTalk, LINE, Facebook Messenger and SnapChat have received in the press. What is surprising, however, is that the rate of growth (tripling usage year-over-year) dramatically outpaced other popular categories. This type of growth could explain the high valuation Facebook has allegedly put on SnapChat, or Facebook’s rush to add direct messaging in Instagram, an app frequented by teens," Khalaf wrote.
Flurry defines app use as a consumer launching an app and recording a session, by the company's definitions. The peak usage for 2013 was measured by the company's analytics platform in the year that just came to a close. Putting a cap on the year at 11:59 on December 31 the company put a tally on mobile app sessions. While everyone waited for the ball to drop, Flurry Analytics tracked a record 4.7 billion app sessions, a one-day record. The year counted 1.126 trillion sessions for the year.
"Those are some very, very big numbers. One minute later the counter went back to zero. A new year has begun, and if the first few days of January are any indication, the mobile world is looking at another major growth year," wrote Khalaf.
App growth was experienced by category as well as geographically. A surge in messaging apps - as well as devices - was experienced in China when manufacturer Xiamo released a handset for the WeChat audience. In under 10 minutes 150,000 new smartphones were sold through the messaging app. That speaks to the potential of the app channel, but also demonstrates growth by releasing more devices into the user base.
"Such examples, coupled with Facebook's own successful entry into the paid mobile app install market, have demonstrated the potential messaging and social applications have to become a mobile storefront for digital and physical goods," Khalaf said.