App Annie Publishes Data Revealing A Record High Smartphone App Usage Across The Globe In 2021

Data from App Annie reveals that a new record high of 3.8 trillion hours were spent by consumers using mobile apps across 2021.

Mobile apps and data such as this are proof of concept for a theory that I’ve personally had for a while: mobiles are sort of taking the space that laptops and tablets used to occupy back in the dotcom bubble days. Communication is no longer the only major reason that smartphones are used, with such devices filling in any number of professional or casual use niches. All of this development can be boiled down to just how much smartphone technology has developed over the past two decades. We’ve come very, very far from the heavy, dial-only, portable phones that were available back in the 90’s. Now, our sleek and slim iPhones and Androids will do virtually anything we want of them: help us watch movies, answer emails, play video games, run complicated software, and so on. It’s no wonder that smartphone usage keeps peaking every subsequent year; the technology that makes up our portable devices continues to do the same as well.

App Annie, an analytics firm providing market data on applications, provided data on smartphone using citizens across the world and their smartphone application usage. Research accordingly states that app usage has been responsible for consuming one third of every American’s waking hours across the previous year, in 2021. I’m sure the pandemic had a lot to do with that, even as 2021 saw many countries coming out of the lockdown periods that they encountered in 2020. The average user spends 4.8 hours of their time on mobile apps, which has increased by 30% in 2019. On average, South Korean, Indonesian, and Brazilian citizens spent the most amount of time on their phones, each country’s citizens clocking over five hours per person.

Social media platforms were the most popular form of apps in 2021, with Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube being some of the standout examples. These accounted for seven out of every ten minutes used on applications this previous year. TikTok was a particular shining success, accounting for a whopping 90% year over year growth, and continuing to be the gen Z darling we all stereotype it to be. With a total of USD $170 billion having been spent on applications across the world, the market has never seen success as massive as this.
Elle Nadal, Director of Marketing, EMEA, at Iterable, commented on the report: 

“This data from App Annie confirms that mobile is extremely relevant for consumers, and a fast-growing channel with potential for marketers.” 

“With the upswing in social media shopping and targeted influencer marketing (TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram) by Gen Z and Millenials, mobile has become a lucrative medium for consumer connection and conversion. Bolstered by App Annie’s data, this trend confirms that, in 2022, mobile apps will fully make the jump — from marketing channel to marketplace. For all generations.”

“Just because businesses now have access to consumer pockets, doesn’t mean they deserve to be there. Brands need to earn their right to more facetime, by prioritizing respect, transparency, and tact in their messaging. Mobile apps are by their nature more personal. Marketers would do well to ensure their messaging drives value for consumers on this channel, or face the mobile-first consequences.”

Read next: How TikTok is paying creators hefty sums for content on the application
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