- Mobile shopping app use jumped 54% in 2017 from the prior year, making retail the fastest-growing category among apps, analytics firm Flurry found. The gain in shopping app usage surpassed the average growth rate for mobile apps of 6% last year, marking a slowdown from an 11% gain in 2016.
- Music, media and entertainment app usage grew 43% in 2017 from the previous year as consumers continued to shift media viewing to mobile devices. That growth accompanied a growing preference for phablets — smartphones with larger screens — whose market share grew to 55% in 2017 from 41% a year earlier. Medium-sized phones fell 9 percentage points to a 35% share, Flurry found.
- Apple was the single biggest smartphone maker with a market share that grew to 37% last year from 34% in 2016. Android was still the most popular mobile operating system on a wider group of devices from tech firms like Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola and Sony. Flurry tracked the usage of 1 million apps among 2.6 billion devices globally and defines "usage" as opening an app on a mobile device to start a session.
Flurry's analysis shows that the app market is maturing as smartphones reach a saturation point in many developed markets. But categories like shopping and media are still growing rapidly as consumers use smartphones with bigger, more vivid screens to browse products and watch videos. In addition, digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay gave shoppers more seamless access to stored payment information for mobile purchases, Flurry said.
Lifestyle apps posted the steepest decline in usage with a 40% drop last year. The category includes a broad range of apps such as exercise trackers, calorie counters, horoscopes, dating and wedding planners. The decline demonstrates the importance for apps to encourage daily usage habits in order to maintain a consistent or growing audience. Game sessions also fell 15% last year from 2016 as consumers shifted their habits to shopping and video consumption.
Consumer spending among all mobile app stores is forecast to rise 30% to more than $110 billion in 2018 from a year earlier, researcher App Annie said in a December forecast. Netflix, Apple, Google, Facebook, Snap and Disney are among the companies that will drive more fragmentation of the video streaming market to feed a growing demand for content on smartphones, according to the report.