By Sarah Perez
Messaging apps are becoming the most heavily-used type of app in a majority of key markets worldwide, based on both smartphone sessions and time spent in apps. However, according to new data from App Annie, the U.S. is an exception to that trend. Here, Facebook still dominates in terms of smartphone sessions, while both Facebook and Instagram led by time spent in apps.
The data collected was based on Android sessions in the first quarter of this year, so it’s not necessarily a full picture of the mobile application ecosystem or app usage – but it is sourced from one of the industry’s largest datasets on mobile data. In fact, App Annie’s dataset recently grew following its acquisition of mobile measurement firm Mobidia last week. The firm is able to now detail app usage data from millions of users across 60 countries.
With Mobidia and App Annie’s data combined, the company put out its first-ever report examining usage-level trends regarding mobile applications, which looked, in particular, at countries like the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, and South Korea.
Not surprisingly, given that smartphones are primarily communication devices, the report found that within every key market, apps in the Communication and Social categories accounted for at least 40% of smartphone sessions on Android. And that trend was similar to how users spent time in apps, says App Annie.
In the U.S., Social remained the top category based on sessions per active user, thanks to Facebook’s prominent position here. But in the U.K., Germany, Japan, and South Korea, Communication was in the #1 position, referring to their preference for messaging apps.
In many of these countries, the Communication and Social categories dominate app sessions. For example, in South Korea, the two categories accounted for around 60% of smartphone app sessions. And the U.S. and Germany were not far behind. (See chart below.)
That means users are launching these sorts of apps more often than any other category of app on their phones, including mobile games.
Meanwhile, time spent in apps was also ruled by the Social and Communication categories. In both the U.S. and Germany again, the two accounted for approximately 60% of time spent in apps on Android smartphones. In South Korea and Japan, the time spent in the apps was slightly lower, but still accounted for 45% of total time spent in apps during Q1.
There are some differences about which apps are most popular in these countries, however, which speaks to regional differences and preferences for communication. For example, in the U.S., users seem to lean more towards one-to-many communication through social networks, while other countries appear to favor one-to-one communication.