A recent study commissioned by Facebook shows that app usage for the average person has increased to a whopping three hours per day in 2019. As 2020 continues to require relatively antisocial behavior, will that number rise organically–and, if not, what can app developers do to make sure it does?
These are riveting questions with potentially high-yield answers for the coming year. The study does show that app use has increased in a somewhat linear fashion; for example, in 2015, average use per day was a little higher than two hours, representing a 33 percent hike in usage over the course of five years.
Perhaps even more surprising is the revelation that the top 30 apps used during the study, while populated with crowd favorites like Instagram and Facebook, demonstrated a higher degree of diversity than in years past. “Users are spending less time with the most popular apps, and engaging more with less popular apps,” says Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal.
So while people continue to use common apps, they’re starting to look for apps with more specificity or relevance to certain circumstances–and they’re using those apps more than once or twice, which suggests a paradigm shift toward more spread out app usage rather than sticking to the same two or three a day.
The report also points out that diversity in app usage remains even after the surge in homebound smartphone users.
If trends are to be trusted, it seems likely that app usage will continue to increase gradually over the course of the next five years (and so on). That’s pretty much a given as smartphones become faster, technology becomes more accessible, and people become more used to using apps with the specificity to circumstance addressed by Facebook’s report.
As far as app developers’ responsibilities during this time, the influence of COVID-19 cannot be discounted. While apps specific to the work-from-home, curbside pick-up era may eventually lose their potency, it seems reasonable to expect that some holdovers from this time will remain even after restrictions are lifted.
The entire report is available here if you’d like to read more.