Mobile

Hungry for apps: Mobile software use grows astounding 115% in 2013

2013 showed we can't get enough of our mobile apps.

Above: 2013 showed we can't get enough of our mobile apps.

Image Credit: indi.ca

Mobile may be eating the world, but just how hungry is it?

Turns out, it’s pretty hungry — mobile app use grew by 115 percent in 2013, and every single app category experienced growth, reports mobile analytics firm Flurry, which gathers data from over 400,000 apps on more than 1.3 billion devices around the world. This growth was spurred by messaging apps, the “bring your own device” movement, and people’s increased comfort with buying stuff through their phones.

flurry chartMessaging and social apps experienced the strongest growth in 2013 — 203 percent year-over-year. Social giants such as Facebook and Pinterest funneled a significant amount of energy into mobile last year, and we also saw the phenomenal growth of mobile upstarts like Snapchat.

What’sApp hit 400 million monthly active users, doubling its number of users in a span of eight months, and Japan’s messaging platform Line is raking in over a hundred million dollar a quarter from its 270 million users.

Flurry found that utilities and productivity apps experienced 150 percent growth year-over-year. The “bring your own device” movement saw a lot of activity in 2013 — people increasingly rely on their smartphones and tablets to get work done and stay organized, and the apps to help them do that are getting more sophisticated.

Music, media, and entertainment grew by 78 percent, closely followed by lifestyle and shopping, which grew by 77 percent. Shopping from mobile devices, or “mCommerce,” is a hot topic as consumers get more comfortable making purchases from their phone and retailers and apps make mobile checkout easier.

Juniper Research predicts that mobile retail purchases will exceed $700 billion by 2018, representing 30 percent of e-commerce. However this sector is still considered in its infancy.

Games, which Flurry said was “feared to reach saturation levels in 2013,” posted 66 percent year-over-year growth in use. 2013 was the year of Candy Crush Saga, after all, which soared to become the world’s most popular mobile game.

The U.S. consumer spends an average of 2 hours, 38 minutes a day on smartphones and tablets, and 80 percent of that time is spent in apps. The app economy generates $25 billion in revenue. Smartphone shipments surpassed 1 billion in 2013 for the first time, and one in every five people now owns a smartphone.

In the words of Google chairman Eric Schmidt — “mobile has won.” But its journey isn’t over yet.

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