- Global time spent on Android phones increased 25% from 2019 to more than 3.3 trillion hours, according to App Annie's 2020 End of Year Mobile Report that was shared with Marketing Dive. While all app categories in the report saw respective lifts in time spent — social and comms (+20%), shopping (+25%), finance (+25%), games (+35%) and video streaming (+40%) — the overall growth was largely driven by a 200% surge in business app usage.
- Worldwide spending across Apple's App Store and Google Play also grew 25% year-over-year to $112 billion, with mobile app and game downloads swelling 10% from last year to 130 billion.
- As mobile usage soared this year, the biggest winners were TikTok and remote collaboration tools that became de facto tools of those working from home. On App Annie's ranking of the most downloaded apps, TikTok jumped three spots to top the list, followed by Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom Cloud Meetings, which moved 219 spots up the list. Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Google Meet (which made its debut on the ranking), Snapchat, Telegram and Likee rounded out the top ten.
The acceleration of mobile spurred by the coronavirus pandemic has been a top marketing story of 2020, a fact which App Annie explores in its 2020 End of Year Mobile Report. While lifts in time spent across app categories were expected, the outsized growth in business app usage illustrates how workplaces and employees shifted toward relying more on mobile devices to accomplish tasks, suggesting that marketers have opportunities in and with apps that are popular among remote workers.
Apps like Zoom Cloud Meetings and Google Meet rocketed into the rankings of top downloaded apps as businesses went remote and workers looked to collaborate via mobile devices, a shift that could continue as App Annie predicts businesses will continue to be at least partially remote throughout 2021 — even as vaccines begin rolling out globally.
Along with the jump in business app usage, TikTok continued its dominance on mobile phones and topped the chart of this year's most downloaded apps. Because the app blends social media communication with streaming video entertainment, it remains a key player in the mobile space, despite its murky U.S. future tied up in the courts.
The report maintains that having a "mobile strategy" in 2021 will not be enough for marketers to meet consumers' changing needs, but that incorporating data into strategies should be marketers' central focus for the new year.
"Businesses must have a data-backed mobile strategy combining trustworthy and accurate mobile market data with their first-party data and an intelligent data science partner," App Annie's report notes.
"2020 has made clear that mobile apps and games are at the center of our lives even when we stay at home," Bertrand Salord, App Annie's global VP marketing, said in a statement. "To win on mobile, brands and publishers need more than ever to benchmark their own mobile performance to market data estimates."