For app developers and marketers, success is often measured not just by the number of times their app is installed on a device, but by average usage time, meaning how long users spend within the app.
When comparing apps in Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, several categories stand out as showing growth in both installs and usage time. Tools led way in year-over-year app usage growth, up 102% overall, or 82% when weighted by total average installs. This metric of using a weighted average is used due to many of the apps being pre-installed or tools that run in the background, making their usage more difficult to measure.
After Tools, News and Media followed with a 26% overall growth in usage time with similar consolidation as weighted growth was 15%. Transportation’s overall usage time fell, yet was boosted by an increase in overall installs of categories leaders such as Uber. In Q1 2015, the car service app was installed on 10.2% of U.S. Android devices, and that number doubled to 20.4% in Q1 2016. Despite this massive spike in installs, usage time within the app remained roughly the same.
Categories like Entertainment and Shopping also saw major gains in usage time, however their gains were offset by declines in the install base of top 10 apps in each category. For example, Netflix average installs declined from 33.6% in Q1 2015 to 31.7% in Q1 2016.
Productivity App Usage
Productivity apps showed the biggest jump in weighted usage. Cross device to-do list and task manager Any.do saw its usage jump by almost a full minute from last year. The app had an average usage time of 6 minutes and four seconds in Q1 2015, and that spiked to 7 minutes and 42 seconds in Q1 2016. Furthermore, the app also saw a jump in current installs and jumped from 0.44% to 0.74% over the same time periods.
The app with the highest overall use in Q1 2016 was Alarm Clock Xtreme Free +Timer which had an average usage time of 11 minutes and 31 seconds. This represents an 11% increase from Q1 2015 when the app had an average usage time of 10 minutes and 25 seconds.
Health and Fitness App Usage
Wearables are really taking off and industry leader Fitbit leads the Health and Fitness category in app usage. Fitbit’s app, which is used in conjunction with its activity-tracking watches has shown impressive and steady growth in US installs. In January 2015, the app was installed on just 1.6% of all US Android devices and that number has risen to 3.71% as of April 2016. Usage Time on the app is also higher than its ever been during that time period, with users in April spending an average of 11 minutes and 19 seconds on the Fitbit app.
Fitbit’s rise in popularity is paralleled with it’s success in the online retail market. In the US, over the period from March 2015 to March 2016, Fitbit was the number 1 searched for product on Amazon.com and the Fitbit Charge HR was number 2.
Though Fitbit has a higher average usage time, the app only passed Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal on current installs in April 2016. Overall, MyFitnessPal came in second on Q1 weighted usage, and the app was used for an average of 7 minutes 54 seconds over Q1, 2016.
Beating both these apps on average usage time was Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder, an app that had an average usage time of 12 minutes 33 seconds in Q1, 2016. Though the app has a much lower rate of current installs, it ranks 4th overall on the strength of its lengthy usage time.