The fact that we are well and truly in the age of mobile internet should be news to nobody. SEO experts and digital marketers have been talking about it for years, and showing impressive statistics regarding the platforms people use to get online. It’s the smartphone age, they say, and if your website is not mobile friendly, your business is doomed.
That’s fine as far as it goes, but how much time do you actually spend surfing the internet and looking up websites on your phone? We all talk about doing shopping, checking the bank balance, even playing games on our smartphones, but when it comes to the practicalities, we invariably do so using a bespoke app, not via a browser. There are literally millions of apps available to download, and last year, approximately 200 billion apps were downloaded worldwide. Understanding what sort are the most popular is key to understanding our true online habits in the mobile internet age. The answers might surprise you.
Everyone’s playing games
Data from Apple’s app store for May 2019 showed that almost one in four apps downloaded was a game. It’s an astonishing percentage and demonstrates that all the talk about gaming becoming bigger than movies or music is more than mere marketing bluster.
What makes it all the more remarkable is that smartphones are largely owned by an older demographic. For sure, teenagers love their phones, but market penetration among adults stands at around 85 percent. Clearly, age is no barrier to gaming and sectors like the casino market are enormously popular with older gamers who want to play online. Interestingly, casino apps are typically not available from the major app stores, but have to be downloaded directly from the websites, so the true statistic of game app downloads could be even higher than 25 percent.
Business on the go
The mobile revolution has had as significant an impact on our business lives as it has on our leisure time. “The world is my office” is today’s mantra, and the fact that almost 10 percent of apps downloaded are in the business category proves the point.
Cloud meeting, Adobe Acrobat and Slack are three examples of apps that make it simple to do business, review documents and work on projects with colleagues from anywhere in the world, and without even having to open a laptop.
Remember the days of sitting for hours in a library, poring over one reference book after another to find the information you needed? It’s largely a thing of the past in the internet age, and learning apps are only just behind business apps in terms of popularity.
While these include reading, writing and maths apps for kids, the interesting thing here is that, like the games, most are aimed at an older audience, proving we never stop learning. Brain training apps like Elevate are among the most popular, while there are also apps to help with everything from identifying flowers to playing the piano.