Mobile Apps Usage 2014

Understanding how smartphone owners use their apps can help businesses get a good idea about what it takes to make an app user stick to your app, and in 2014, there’s plenty of information available to find out exactly what drives mobile app usage.

Unsurprisingly, the usage of mobile apps has been on a sharp rise ever since mobile apps became a thing, and in 2014, a staggering number of smartphone owners are now using apps every single day. Nielsen has just released a new report that studies mobile app usage over the last half-decade, and in 2013 the average app user was spending an extra 11 hours using apps compared to the same reports in 2011.

But what is driving this increase in mobile app usage in 2014, and why is it showing no signs of slowing down?

Apps are Becoming More Engaging


Although the average amount of apps being used per user has slowly increased over the last few years, it doesn’t quite match the large increase of time spent within those apps. What this suggests is that more app users are finding their apps even more engaging than ever before. App users are finding roughly the same number of apps each month, and spending more and more time within them.

For an app developer or marketer within the app store industry, this is an important piece of information to take in. It’s clear that in order for your app to be successful, you must create an engaging experience that encourages users to spend more time within your app.

The Top Categories: Search and Social

Smartphones have opened up an entirely new way for individuals to connect, and through various social networking sites, many smartphone users spend large portions of their smartphone time socialising online. It’s no surprise then that social apps are currently the most used applications on the market.

In second place search apps take a big chunk of an app user’s time, and behind that, we see mobile games and entertainment apps. Mobile games have proven to hold great revenue potential, and many of the top apps are mobile games. However, app users are still spending more time within social apps.

By creating a socially connected and engaging experience, app developers should have the potential to increase their average app user time drastically. If you were to create a mobile game and include some form of social integration, you’re already one step closer to achieving a much larger active user base.

All app categories Have Potential

Whilst it’s clear that some apps such as Facebook or Instagram are being used more frequently than apps in other categories, choosing an app category to develop in should not be dependent on this information.

All categories in the app store have potential, so instead of routing for the most successful category, it’s best to look into why certain categories are performing better than others. Social apps, for example, have a very high app user time per month because they are engaging and allow users to interact with others.

These two factors; engagement and social interaction, are two very important areas to focus on when developing your application, and no matter what category you choose, you can still work on improving your user engagement and social integration.


From taking a look at mobile app usage in 2014, it’s clear that the two major deciding factors on user app time are social and user engagement. Whilst social-related apps are bringing in a large amount of the average user app time, other categories may be performing better in terms of revenue.

However, if you aim towards improving your social integration and your user engagement, you should see an increase in your average user app time, no matter what category your app falls under.

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