Overall mobile app usage grew by 58 percent in 2015, according to Flurry, continuing the trend the Yahoo mobile marketing subsidiary has observed in all 7 years since it began its annual reports. While the overall growth rate has declined, its persistence is stunning in a mature market, Flurry says, as an estimated 40 percent of the growth came from existing users.
Flurry counts app “sessions” in which a user of one of the 2.1 billion devices it monitors opens an app. The number of sessions doubled in 2013, and increased 76 percent in 2014, but sessions from existing users increased by 10 and 20 percent in those years, respectively, as Flurry noted an increase in “mobile addicts.”
Every app category grew in use year-over-year, except for games, which were used 1 percent less than in 2014. Personalization apps, including Android lock-screens and Emoji keyboards, rose by 344 percent in 2015, news and magazines apps grew 141 percent as media consumption shifts to mobile, and productivity apps increased by 119 percent, with teens and college students boosting the total by often using mobile devices as their primary computing device.
Lifestyle and shopping apps also grew by 80 percent. A May report pointed out that mobile devices are the target market driving digital marketing growth. The impact of Millennials and their mobile habits on the ecommerce market was noted in a Canadian study near the beginning of 2015.
Increasing media consumption was a major factor in time spent on mobile growing by 117 percent year-over-year, passing the amount typically spent watching television. Mobile media consumption is much higher on phablets than other device types, and Flurry says the phablet may be the long-awaited digital nemesis of the cable industry, becoming the dominant form this coming October, if present trends continue. Over one-quarter of the devices activated for Christmas 2015 were phablets, according to the report.
“Once labeled a fad (even by us), phablets have become the unstoppable media consumption device,” Simon Khalaf, SVP, Product & Engineering, Publisher Products for Yahoo said in a blog post. If that trend holds, it could create new challenges this year for media companies and their hosts, responsiveness and ecommerce solution providers, and digital marketing.