What's Behind the App Explosion?

What's Behind the App Explosion?
Brian McHale
What's Behind the App Explosion?

Why do we love our apps? Millions of us use apps daily to connect with friends, listen to our favorite songs, order food/groceries, play games, get us to our destination, and overall make our lives easier. And the popularity of apps continues to increase at an exponential rate.

Here are a few quick stats on recent app usage:

  • In 2022, mobile apps accounted for nearly 59% of internet traffic worldwide and this number continues to grow.
  • The average person now has approximately 80 different apps installed on their phone. But only 9 of those apps see daily use.
  • Consumers spend 88% of their time on smartphones within apps. Depending on age and gender, app popularity varies. The most popular app in 2021 by a long shot was Tik Tok. In Q1 of 2022, the app had 175 million downloads.
  • Consumer app spending has grown from 40 billion to over 86 billion in just four years.

How did COVID-19 affect app use?

For the first time since the Digital Revolution, a record breaking number of consumers were home during the height of the pandemic. According to a survey by location technology company Bluedot, more than three-fourths of consumers (77%) turned to apps to order groceries, food and other products and services during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, people are using mobile apps more frequently. The BBC reported at the beginning of 2022, people spent on average a third of their day using mobile apps. With 33% of the average person's waking time spent on apps, it's no surprise that in 2021 alone consumers spent $170 billion in mobile apps.

Quick Service Restaurants Have Benefitted

Brands are increasingly looking to connect with consumers as they continue to think about pivoting their strategy in the future. Recent data has shown that reliable apps are a great platform to reach those consumers, especially for quick-service restaurants. More than half (51%) have downloaded at least one new app to purchase food and essentials since the start of the pandemic in the United States (early to mid-March), with 37% adding more than two.

Here are a few ways the restaurant and retail industries have optimized their marketing using apps since the beginning of the pandemic:

  • Order Tracking: For quick-service restaurants, the use of mobile-ordering is up by 70%; good mobile experiences can help brands earn market share and increase loyalty.
  • Location, Location, Location: Location-based services are a fast-growing category that offers localized, relevant advertising in trusted app environments. Defining where we go, behavioral patterns and places of interest, turning our demographic data into invaluable insights for marketers.
  • Mobile Wallet Technology: It’s always been an option, but we know usage of mobile wallets are on the rise, enabling quick and efficient transactions to take place ‘on the go’ and without contact.
  • Voice Technology: The industry is witnessing a rise of the voice marketer, within the app ecosystem. Voice-enabled mobile apps give users the ability to interact without using their hands. That means they can order your latest products while working out or travelling. It also means that apps can take commands and requests almost anytime, allowing users to interact with the app more frequently and efficiently.

If your brand values advertising like we do, building brand awareness in an app may be a great channel for your marketing dollars. But at the end of the day, our goal is not to convince you to create an app, but instead to listen closely to your target audience.