But what kind of apps are they using exactly? Here are a few of the most interesting charts from Flurry’s report, along with a bit of insight into the findings.
First, a bit of housekeeping. The report draws on Flurry’s global footprint, which includes 940,000 applications, across 2.1bn devices, in 10bn sessions a day.
Social and messaging apps reign supreme
In 2016, UK mobile users continued their rapid uptake of social media messaging apps, with usage in this category increasing by 46%. Globally, usage also increased by 44%, helping mobile to achieve a session growth of 69% year-on-year.
So why are we using messaging apps even more than we used to? Flurry suggests that the ‘communitainment’ trend could be a factor – an awful term used to describe the act of sharing user-generated content on social media.
As a result of this high usage, time spent in other apps – such as news or gaming – has naturally declined. Similarly, with a lot of messaging apps updating their range of emojis and adding sticker features, use of standalone personalisation apps has declined 46%.
Retale recently reported that 58% of millennials have interacted with a chatbot on social media in the past year, meaning AI could have also contributed to the rise of messaging apps. That being said, it’s unclear whether this percentage is due to brands capturing user’s attention or merely reaching people in the channels they already spend time in.
Daily habits linked to rise
Flurry found that the average mobile user spends around five hours a day on their smartphones, of which two hours are designated to social or messaging apps.
Brits in particular are most active first thing in the morning as well as post-work, peaking at around 4pm and continuing until 10pm. This appears to be because, while other activities like watching television remain popular, many users are using more than one connected device at a time.
In fact, a recent study by Google shows that 65% of Brits also use a smartphone when watching television, once again highlighting the phenomenon known as second screening.
Meanwhile, real-time events have also helped to drive usage of mobile apps, such as sporting events like the Super Bowl. In Europe, app sessions for the sports category increased by a whopping 90% last year – a percentage largely put down to a jam-packed summer of sport including Wimbledon, the Euros and the Olympics.
Medium phones rivalling phablets in Europe
While Flurry’s previous report suggested that phablets (i.e. devices with screens between 5” and 6.9”) are dominating globally, it appears Europeans are still keeping hold of medium-sized devices, with the latter seeing a 47% market share in the UK.
That being said, it’s been suggested that Europe will soon catch up, with phablet adoption set to grow to the point of eliminating small phones entirely. This is unsurprising, especially considering the global rise in shopping and utility apps, with many consumers turning to mobile devices for a multitude of practical purposes as well as entertainment.
For lots more information on this topic, be sure to check out Econsultancy’s mobile-related research.