The Apps Explosion Got Serious in 2014 as Usage Jumped 76%
Business + Economy

The Apps Explosion Got Serious in 2014 as Usage Jumped 76%

Our appetite for apps just keeps on growing. Mobile app usage jumped by 76 percent in 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by analytics firm Flurry, part of Yahoo. Chances are you’re reading this on a mobile device, so that number won’t shock you. It’s actually down significantly from 115 percent growth in 2013.

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But the key drivers of the 2014 surge are noteworthy: Use of lifestyle and shopping apps grew 174 percent, while use of utilities and productivity apps increased by 121 percent. The number of messaging and social media sessions more than doubled as well, building on more than 200 percent growth the previous year.

“As our mobile devices become more and more a part of our everyday lives, we are increasingly using them for always-on shopping, working, and communication,” Simon Khalaf, Yahoo’s VP of Flurry Products, said in a blog post. “Where years past have seen massive growth in games and entertainment, 2014 was the year apps got down to serious business.”

Or, to be more specific: serious shopping. “While 2013 was the year messaging apps took off, 2014 was the year retail came to mobile in a big way,” Khalaf notes. While many other categories saw decelerating growth compared with 2013 — part of the maturation of mobile — the 174 percent jump in the lifestyle and shopping category represented a sharp increase from 77 percent growth the year before. On Android devices, shopping soared by 220 percent.

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Flurry found that mobile shoppers, unsurprisingly, tend to do their browsing and buying at 9 a.m., during their commutes or when they first get into work; at noon, around their lunchtime break, and then again around 8 p.m., once they’re home. “Retailers need to adjust to the new reality of a multitude of stores in every consumer’s pocket, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Khalaf writes.

Other categories growing more quickly than they did in 2013 included Sports, up 74 percent in 2014, and News and Magazines, up 49 percent. By contrast, the growth in gaming and entertainment categories slowed significantly from 2013 to 2014. That, combined with the shopping explosion and continuing growth in the Utilities & Productivity category, shows that 2014 really was the year the mobile revolution came of age.

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