2020 app usage snapshot: Australians. We really, really love our apps

2020 app usage snapshot: Australians. We really, really love our apps

2020 app usage snapshot: Australians. We really, really love our apps

It’s 2020. And Australians still really, really love apps. And, what’s interesting is that we love them more than mobile phone users in most other countries.

But first – let’s talk about the data. App Annie released its State of Mobile 2020 report earlier this year with updated data on app usage. But sadly Australia missed out. For the first time, the report didn’t include country specific data for Australia.

App Annie’s 2019 State of Mobile report therefore has the best and latest data on Australia app usage. This is the data we use in this blog post. Importantly, there were no big shifts in the key trends we identify below compared with App Annie's 2020 report, but for completeness, the latest key global stats are included towards the end of the blog post.

Australians still really really love mobile apps

According to App Annie’s 2019 State of Mobile report on app usage around the world, Australians used more apps than those in the UK, the US, China and India.

Back in 2017, we reported that Australians tended to cram their phones chock full of mobile apps. This tendency hasn’t changed. In 2018, the average Australian had over 100 apps on their smartphone.

But the biggest challenge for startups, government and businesses looking to build an app, is that Australians only use about 35% of the apps every month that we have installed.

So how do you make sure your app is one that is used over and over again?

“Designing an app using a human-centred design approach, rather than a technology-first approach, is critical” says Guy Cooper, Managing Director of award-winning mobile app developer Wave Digital.

“If you understand the user – their needs and dreams - you can create an experience that they connect with, that they find easy, that they even enjoy. Those apps with a fantastic user experience are the ones people will use repetitively. Obviously, for apps touching areas of your daily life, like finance, this is particularly important. Australians will simply change suppliers if apps aren’t easy to use.”

Banking and finance apps have seen tremendous growth

According to the 2019 App Annie report, Australians check their banking apps more times per week than the rest of the world, with a 350% growth in how frequently we use our Fintech apps since 2016.

Indeed, Wave Digital has worked on two finance apps over the past 12 months, CXi Software and Tradex. Both apps aim to make it easier for Australians to transact.

After finance, unsurprisingly, the next level of growth was seen in our use of food and drink apps – up 300% from between 2016-18. Australia’s level of growth was only second to France. Think Deliveroo, menulog and Ubereats just to name a few. More and more Australians are using a mobile app rather than their kitchen to source their dinner.

And to offset this, we are spending more money in health and fitness apps – up more than 160% since 2016.

More Australians are also using travel, maps and navigation apps

Up 80 per cent since 2016, it has been a long time now since any of us used a paper map! The increased sophistication of geo-spacial mapping data, the ability to integrate this with other relevant data, and the fact that data can be updated in real time all contribute to an improved user experience for mapping apps on mobile.

A great example of what can now be achieved is one of the most popular apps developed by Wave Digital – the VicRoads VicTraffic suite of real-time traffic apps. Wave Digital developed a responsive web app and undertook native iPhone app development and Android app development to cater for users on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. The VicTraffic app features multiple integrations of complex data sources, from schedule roadworks and planned events to unplanned road disruptions during emergencies,  the app intelligently delivers tailored real-time information to many over 500,000 users.

Crowdsourcing data and integrating this into mapping technology is also an exciting development. The Newtracs 4wd Conditions Mobile App, which was designed by Wave Digital, allows users to access crowd-sourced up-to-date information on off-road tracks, recommended routes and natural bush campsites while on the road. It is the first and only app in Australia to automatically generate track reports by analysing 4wd trip logs from their user base.

Given Australia’s higher-than-normal mobile app use, it is interesting to see that on average, we spent less time on our mobiles than most of the rest of the world. In 2018, the average user spent 3 hours per day on their mobile, whereas Australians spent about 2 ½ hours. In Indonesia, mobile users spent over 4 hours a day in apps — 17% of a users’ entire day!

Globally, half of the time we spent on our mobile was in Social and Communication category apps – social networking and messaging. According to the 2019 State of Mobile report, this represented a slightly smaller portion of total time spent on mobile, “indicating that mobile's importance continues to spread into other areas of our lives”.

How much did app usage change in 2019 worldwide?

While we’re here, these are some of the takeaways from App Annie’s 2020 Report (minus Australia-specific info):

  • Average hours per day spent in mobile increased from 3 hours to 3.7 hours in 2019
  • Consumers downloaded a record 204 billion apps in 2019 just up from 194 billion in 2018
  • Sessions in Food and Drink apps outside of China continued their strong trajectory, growing 105% from 2018
  • Globally, consumers spent 130% more money in health and fitness apps in 2019, than in 2017 ($1.5 B in 2019)
  • Our use of Finance apps continued to increase, with users migrating more of their financial activities to mobile
  • Globally, we continued to spend about 50% of our time on mobile in Social and Communication apps

What next ….

In 2018, Australia saw the second largest growth worldwide in time spent in top 5 video streaming apps. App Annie predicted that 10 minutes of every hour spent consuming media across TV and internet will come from individuals streaming video on mobile. Indeed, in their 2020 report, App Annie found globally consumers spent 50% more sessions in Entertainment apps in 2019 than 2017.

Mobile is also expected to account for an increasing portion of digital ad spend in 2019 and beyond. The report suggests that 60% more apps will monetize through in-app advertising. App Annie’s latest forecast is for mobile ad spend to reach $240 billion globally in 2020.

“Continued disruption of the medical industry through the increasing growth of mobile apps is also one to watch,” says Guy Cooper. “Apps are starting to enable individuals to take a more proactive and preventative approach to managing their own healthcare. The Apple watch and its ‘HealthKit’ and ‘ECG’ features are great examples of this.”

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