The coronavirus epidemic has increased our collective screen time, and this is especially true on mobile devices. According to a new report by mobile data and analytics firm App Annie, global consumers are now spending an average of 4.2 hours using the app on our smartphones, an increase of 30% from just two years ago. In some markets, the average is even higher – more than five hours.
In the first quarter of 2021, the daily time spent in apps surpassed four hours in the US, Turkey, Mexico and India for the first time. Among them, India saw the biggest jump as consumers spent 80% more time in Q1 2021 vs first quarter of 2019.
To put this perspective in the US market, Nielsen reported last year that consumers were watching about 4 and half hours of live or time-shifted television, but only 3 hours, 46 minutes using a smartphone application.
However, we should point out that Nielsen and App Annie’s analysis cannot be directly compared, as App Annie only measured time spent on Android devices – and many Americans use iPhones. Meanwhile, Nielsen relies on panels to obtain a representative sample. Nevertheless, the widespread setback here is that the mobile app is a more popular means of entertainment rather than the good All American pastime of watching TV.
The new report also noted that three markets – Brazil, South Korea and Indonesia – spent a daily average time leaping by more than five hours in their last quarter.
It can be difficult to determine which apps are driving these changes because the most downloaded applications remain in the same quarter after quarter. The top charts dominate common names such as TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook, for example. That’s why App Annie now tracks what he calls a “breakout app”, which saw spikes in quarter-over-quarter downloads on both iOS and Android.
In Q1 2021, Western markets saw a boom in secure messaging apps, signals and telegrams. For example, Signal was ranked first in the UK, Germany and France, and ranked fourth in the US as a “breakout app” this quarter. Telegram was ranked number 5 in the UK in France, and number 7 in the US
The list also had popular investment and trading apps with Coinbase’s crypto app at number 6 in the USA and UK, while Binance was number 7 in France. The crypto trading app Upbit, meanwhile, was No. 1 in South Korea. The payment app, Pepe, was the No. 1 breakout app in Japan. And Robinhood was number 2 in the US
The clubhouse made one performance on the “Breakout” chart, as it gained ground in non-US markets such as Germany and Japan, where it ranked No. 4 and No. 3, respectively.
China’s breakout chart was different, focusing on video apps such as Tiktok, Qua, Capcuts and IQIY.
Tiktok’s influence on the games in the quarter was also evident. High Heels, from Istanbul-based Rolik (now owned by Zynga), was heavily promoted on Tiktok, which sent the title to No. 1 in the US and UK “Breakout” game charts, as well as No. 3 in China. It is ranked 7 in Germany, and number 6 in Russia.
Other hyper-casual games also did well, including Project Variations, DOP2: Delete One Part, and Phone Case DIY.
Crash Bandicoot: On the Run also broke into quarters. Despite launching on 25 March, the game saw 21 million downloads in four days, becoming the top breakout app in Germany, number 2 in the US, number 3 in the UK, and number 9 in France.