App usage soars as smartphones take hold

January 5, 2016
In 2015 lifestyle and shopping apps grew 80 percent—another sign of ecommerce turning mobile
In 2015 lifestyle and shopping apps grew 80 percent—another sign of ecommerce turning mobile

Global app usage soared in 2015 as a growing base of smartphone users found new ways to use their devices, a study showed Tuesday.

The survey by Yahoo-owned analytics firm Flurry found app usage on jumped 58 percent last year, cooling slightly from 76 percent in 2014.

A big factor was growth in "personalization" which allow people to customize their devices or correspondence including lockscreens and emoji keyboards, including reality star Kim Kardashian's "Kimoji." These apps saw 344 percent growth last year.

News and magazine apps grew 141 percent meanwhile, signaling a shift in media consumption from television and PCs to smartphones and other mobile devices.

Productivity apps such as Google Docs and Slack were up 119 percent, Flurry found, while lifestyle and shopping apps grew 80 percent—another sign of ecommerce turning mobile.

Flurry vice president Simon Khalaf said one of the reasons for the growth was increased used of big-screen smartphones or "phablets," which offer a better view for video and other uses.

"Time spent on phablets grew 334 percent year over year (2.9 times more than the average), compared to 117 percent for all form factors," he said in a blog.

"With time spent on mobile surpassing that on television, and phablets posting astonishing growth in , it appears that the cable industry will find in the phablet and its apps its long awaited digital nemesis."

A separate report this week by the App Association found 3.97 million apps available at the end of 2015, generating revenues of $120 billion.

Explore further: Apple wins holiday race as screen sizes grow, survey says

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