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Consumers download 1.7 billion mobile business apps in 2019, spending over $500m

Mobile app sector fuelling digital transformation, and businesses with a robust mobile-first strategy and engaging apps are enjoying much success

The latest annual research from mobile data and analytics company App Annie has revealed a booming mobile app sector with mobile advertising spend set to reach $240bn in 2020, up 26% year-on-year, and total consumer and mobile spend projected to be $380bn by the end of the year.

App Annie claimed that mobile technology was fuelling digital transformation for brands and publishers worldwide. The annual report provides insight into mobile’s impact across industries and the global economy, highlighting publishers and brands that are outperforming their peers.

The state of mobile 2020 research examined macro mobile trends; identified which leading brands and publishers across gaming, fintech, retail, social, video, and others are winning on mobile; and showed how businesses can navigate and reach key demographics.

In all, consumers averaged three hours and 40 minutes a day on their mobile devices in 2019, up 35% since 2017, and downloaded 204 billion apps. Gen Z mobile users were found to be an increasingly strategic segment to businesses. Mobile is now Gen Z’s native language. This demographic is highly engaged with apps and they have 60% more sessions per user in the most popular apps when compared with older generations.

In-app subscriptions fuelled 96% of consumer spend in top non-gaming apps in the US, disrupting industries such as dating, health and fitness, music, sports, video streaming, education, business and productivity. Global shopping app downloads grew by 60% from 2017 to 2019, and 20% year-on-year, while hours spent in-app during the holidays nearly doubled, with 40% annual growth.

The study also showed that financial technology (fintech) had a breakout year globally in 2019, with Postbank BestSign, Pay Pay, NH Smart Banking, China Individual Income Tax, Monzo, Google Pay and Cash App forming the leading finance apps by year-on-year growth in annual downloads in Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, the UK, France and the US, respectively. Globally, consumers accessed finance apps 100% more in 2019 than in 2017.

In 2019, consumers downloaded 1.7 billion business apps and spent over $500m on them, up 10% and 25% year-on-year, respectively. App Annie said this was an indication of both increasing demand for business apps and willingness to pay for the value they provide.

“B2B companies have the potential to produce apps that are as popular as their consumer cousins”
Lexi Sydow, App Annie

As an indication of how valued mobile services are, App Annie pointed out that mobile-focused companies, including Uber and Alibaba, had a combined initial public offering valuation of $544bn, 6.5 times higher than companies without a mobile focus.

Speaking to ComputerWeekly about the findings, Lexi Sydow, senior market insights manager at App Annie, said the case for business-to-business firms to go fully mobile-centric has never been stronger. However, mobile adoption in the B2B space was slower than the market overall, attributed in part to use hinging on corporate contracts with longer buying cycles.

“Mobile devices are increasingly central to our working lives – whether that be joining video conference calls, communicating with colleagues, or editing documents on the go,” she remarked.

“However, despite some industry headwinds, B2B companies are harnessing the value of mobile and disrupting their industries. Enterprise apps such as Zoom and Dropbox have already optimised their solutions, ensuring a seamless mobile experience that works across devices.

“B2B companies have the potential to produce apps that are as popular as their consumer cousins, but success will be very much dependent on having a UI [user interface] that is engaging and a robust mobile-first strategy that demonstrates the value mobile adds to a B2B tool. Mobile is a vital channel for interacting with consumers, and companies that succeed in mobile are reaping financial rewards.”

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