Mobile users are not only increasing, but the number of apps and amount of times they check those apps each day is growing fast. There's a new app user out there: the mobile addict.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. smartphone owners report regularly sleeping with their devices, according to a report by Bank of America. And as the number of smartphone owners increase, so does app use.
Research firm Flurry Analytics updated an older study and devised a tiered ranking system for app users and charted the growth of each group. "Regular users" use apps between once and 16 times daily and grew from 784 million to 985 million in the same period, a 25 percent increase. "Super users" use apps between 16 and 60 times daily and grew even more dramatically, from 440 million to 590 million, a 34 percent increase.
Then there are the "mobile addicts," consumers who launch applications 60 times or more per day. This group is growing at the fastest rate, from 176 million in the second quarter 2014 to a whopping 280 million in second quarter 2015, a 59 percent increase.
Where does retail rank with mobile addicts? This group over-indexed in all categories but retail didn't rank in the top five: messaging and social; utilities and productivity; games; finance; and news and magazines.
The most used apps—messaging and social apps—speak to the power of these channels for brands to reach and interact with shoppers. Utilities and productivity apps highlight the growing number of users that have made a mobile device their primary computing device. As the report's author notes, "Mobile addicts are using their smart device as the sole computing device and conducting every aspect of their lives on that device."
And finally, the popularity of games with mobile app users was never in question, but this confirms the appeal of gamification as part of a merchant's mobile program.
Many retailers have been wrestling with whether to build a dedicated app or to grow their mobile presence with mobile Web or third parties. What makes sense for large retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart doesn't make sense for more specialized merchants whose shoppers visit less frequently.
Mobile app use is growing, particularly among millennials. The behavior of mobile addicts could tip the scales and help inform decisions.
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