Based on a new report from App Annie, smartphone use is increasing dramatically in Q1 2020 compared to last year and quarter. For Android, that increase equates to around 20-percent from last year in terms of average weekly time in apps and games.
Breaking down those figures, time spent in apps grew by 30-percent from the last quarter of 2019 in Italy. That's as compared to an increase of 15-percent in France and 10-percent in both Germany and the US.
Spending and overall downloads are increasing right along with that growth too. In the first quarter of the year, mobile users spent more than 23.4-billion on apps across all operating systems. That's the most that users have ever spent in a quarter. Those sales stem at least partially from the more than 31-billion new app downloads seen in the quarter — a quarterly increase of 15-percent.
On Android, users downloaded more than 22.5-billion new apps.
Smartphone use increasing is absolutely not surprising
Now, in terms of what users are downloading and running on their smartphones, non-gaming apps accounted for 55-percent of all downloads. That's with regard to those downloaded from the Google Play Store. But the figure isn't necessarily surprising. App Annie cites the widespread appearance of coronavirus, now classified as a global pandemic, as the source of increasing smartphone use in the first quarter of 2020.
Specifically, App Annie points to growth differences in the hardest-hit regions. China, for example, saw a daily use growth of 30-percent — jumping to 5-hours per day — over last year. Italy's smartphone usage rose by 11-percent.
Not only are a huge number of carriers, retailers, and even OEMs closing up shop to keep the spread at a minimum. That has forced users to look for new ways to shop from home. But the trend has also forced users to work from home as well as looking for new ways to stay active and entertained.
The games category, the latest report indicates, was the biggest driver on Android in terms of quarterly growth. But increasing smartphone use in 2020 via Google Play Store downloads was also led by Health & Fitness, Education, and Business category apps. Downloads of those apps grew by 40-percent, 35-percent, and 30-percent respectively.
Tools designed to help users communicate and collaborate for work saw strong adoption too. That includes downloads of apps such as ZOOM, Hangouts Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Partially driving that growth, many companies are offering trials to help workers in light of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
Some apps are benefitting more than others
Apps topping the charts have shuffled a bit too. Those are still chiefly the same apps but with some growth and repositioning based on users' changing needs. But the growth wasn't proportionate either. Apps such as Disney+, ZOOM Cloud Meetings, and Houseparty saw growth well beyond the normal, according to App Annie.
Disney's streaming platform launched in Europe on March 24 and was downloaded more than 5 million times on the first day. Conversely, ZOOM has been repurposed by end-users and has moved to the top-ranked position on iOS by daily downloads. That's across 141 markets. Users are taking advantage of the latter service to engage in game nights, social networking, and more.
Finally, App Annie notes that Houseparty has risen to fill the gap in terms of social networking since it offers a way to play games during calls. Over the course of a week starting March 15, the app's downloads grew around the world by 735-times from the prior week.