Mobile Apps Gone Wild!

Mobile apps have gone wild! And I have the statistics to prove it:

To date, nearly 4 billion mobile phones are now in use. More than 1 billion of those are smartphones. After much data collection and analyzing, researchers are discovering some interesting facts about why, what, and how consumers use their mobile phones.

A recent study reveals that 61% of consumers use their mobile phones for games, 55% for weather, 50% for maps and search, 49% for social networking, 42% for music, 36% for news, 33% for entertainment, 25% for dining, and 21% for video. 

What’s more interesting is the growing number of app being downloaded.

In 2010, more than 5 billion apps were downloaded worldwide. In 2013, an estimated 21 billion apps will be downloaded worldwide. From 2010 to 2011 alone, we’ve seen worldwide mobile app revenue grow from $5 billion to nearly $15 billion. As it relates to the consumer, the average smartphone user spends 600+ minutes a month using apps and uses an average of 8-15 apps religiously.

These are hard numbers. For those of us in the mobile app and tech world, these numbers have a lot of implications to the future of both business and life. It’s simple… Our lives are becoming increasingly mobile.

Take Jessica for example:

She’s a twenty-something who is still in college and carries her iPhone 4 wherever she goes. Her day usually starts off the same. She wakes up early in the morning to the sound of her Alarm App ringing on her mobile phone. As she gets up, she reaches for her mobile phone to check her emails, the weather, and unanswered text messages. After showering, she opens up her Pandora App to listen to some music while she gets dressed for class. On her way out the door, she grabs her phone, her book bag, her keys and a bagel. As she makes her way to her car, she makes use of the time by checking Twitter on her Twitter App. As she drives to her morning class, she makes use of every red light to text her friends. Upon arriving to class, she pulls up her Facebook App and sends out a status update… “Just got to class.” Her teacher walks in, so she silences her phone, but avoids turning it off just incase she gets a text during class.

During breaks between classes, Jessica texts and peruses her social networks interchangeably. She even kills a few minutes playing her two favorite game apps, Angry Birds and Paper Toss. After classes have ended for the day, she opens up her AroundMe App to search for surrounding restaurants she can afford to eat at for lunch. After finding a spot nearby, she opens up her Bank of America App to make sure she has the funds in her checking account. She texts her friends and they all meet up at the restaurant for their usual lunchtime. At the restaurant, she opens up her Foursquare App and checks in at that location. She opens up her Foodspotting App and takes a picture of her food and rates her dining experience. After lunch, she and her friends decide to go and see a movie while the day is still young. She pulls out her phone and opens up her Flixster App to see what movies are playing. After deciding on a movie together, she opens up her Google Maps App to see if there’s a shortcut to the movie theater to avoid traffic. As she closes her phone, she realizes that it’s only 1pm. Once again, a normal and successful day – thanks to mobile.

If you notice, Jessica still has an entire day ahead of her. Look at how much of her day was seamlessly intermingled with her mobile phone. Notice that there isn’t any mention of any other devices such as televisions, radios, or computers. All of this took place on one device. Her mobile phone.

As you can see, this is becoming the new normal for many. Researchers are projecting that both sales and usage of mobile phones will outnumber computers and other devices in the next few years. As entrepreneurs, techies, businessmen, college students, and everyday consumers, we all need to be aware of where things are headed. And it’s clear that it is MOBILE.

As a User Experience Designer, this insight has huge implications. We’re seeing a growing number of mobile apps being integrated seamlessly into the daily lifestyle of consumers like never before. Companies are thinking deeper and more dynamically when it comes to the end-user experience.

It’s no longer just about developing another mobile app that gets a lot of downloads, but is never used. It’s no longer just about fighting to get into the App Store. It’s no longer just about gimmicking consumers into downloading a free version of your app just so you can up-sell them on the “full version”.

We as designers, developers, and creatives have a major obligation to go beyond creating apps that are subpar at best. We have an opportunity to create what will literally be a part of the daily shaping and molding of the lifestyle experiences of consumers.

We’re no longer just in the mobile app business, we’re now in the lifestyle business.

And this time, it’s scaleable!

 

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