What's Behind the App Explosion?

Brandience Team


Why do we love our apps? Millions of us use apps daily to connect with friends, listen to our favorite songs, order food/groceries, play games, get us to our destination, and overall make our lives easier. And since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the popularity of apps has increased at an exponential rate.

Here are a few quick stats on recent app usage via Techjury:

  • In 2018, mobile apps accounted for nearly 50% of internet traffic worldwide and this number continues to grow.
  • The average person now has approximately 80 different apps installed on their phone. But only 9 of those apps see daily use.
  • Consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones within apps. Depending on age and gender, app popularity varies. The most popular app in 2020 by a long shot has been Tik Tok. In Q1 of 2020, the app had 315 million downloads, which is the best quarter ever by any app.
  • Consumer app spending has grown from 40 billion to over 86 billion in the last four years.

How has COVID-19 affected app use?

For the first time since the Digital Revolution, a record breaking number of consumers have been home during COVID-19 and looking to connect with co-workers, friends and their favorite brands.

According to a survey by location technology company Bluedot, more than three-fourths of consumers (77%) are turning to apps to order groceries, food and other products and services during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, people are using mobile apps more frequently amid the pandemic. According to App Annie, daily time spent on Android devices increased by 20% year-over-year in Q1 of 2020. In-app spending has also increased in Q1 with Android App spending up 5%, while iOS increased by 15%. Overall, in-app spending set a record of $23.4 billion during the same period.

Quick Service Restaurants Have Benefitted

Brands are increasingly looking to connect with consumers as things continue to open up and should continue to think about how they can pivot their strategy in the future. Recent data has shown that reliable apps are a great platform to reach those consumers, especially for quick-service restaurants. More than half (51%) have downloaded at least one new app to purchase food and essentials since the start of the pandemic in the United States (early to mid-March), with 37% adding more than two.

Here are a few ways the restaurant and retail industries have optimized their marketing using apps since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak:

  • Order Tracking: For quick-service restaurants, mobile ordering is expected to drive 7% of sales this year (https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/why-mobile-should-be-your-secret-weapon), and it has been proven that good mobile experiences can help them earn market share and increase loyalty. Papa John’s ability to pivot during the pandemic was evident with the upgrade they made to their robust pizza tracker app that now features minute-by-minute order tracking and no-contact delivery. This simultaneously addressed consumer and employee concerns about their safety during the pandemic and will likely continue to be an instrumental factor in their success as health remains at the forefront of customers’ minds.
  • Location, Location, Location: Location-based services are a fast-growing category that offers localized, relevant advertising in trusted app environments. Defining where we go, behavioral patterns and places of interest, turning our demographic data into invaluable insights for marketers.
  • Mobile Wallet Technology: It’s always been an option, but we know popularity is on the rise, enabling quick and efficient transactions to take place ‘on the go’ and without contact. According to The State of Mobile Payments in 2019, a report published by the Electronic Transaction Association, US consumers spent $64 billion on mobile devices in 2018. This marks a 42% increase over the previous year.
  • Voice Technology: The industry is witnessing a rise of the voice marketer, within the app ecosystem. According to Datanyze, more and more users are speaking into their phones, tablets and devices. Most users reported that they use voice commands in app at least once a week. Voice-enabled mobile apps give users the ability to interact without using their hands. That means they can order your latest products while working out. Or they can easily interact with the app while traveling from one client meeting to another. This is a major difference compared to not having voice recognition in place. If a customer is unable to use their hands to tap the mobile device, it could lead to missed opportunities. On the other hand, a voice-enabled mobile app can take commands and requests almost anytime, allowing users to interact with the app more frequently and more efficiently. A closer bond between brand, app, content and consumer will unquestionably make for a positive user experience.

If your brand values advertising like we do, building brand awareness in an app may be a great channel for your marketing dollars. And if your brand is currently launching an app or making upgrades, make sure your app meets customers’ demands for faster, more convenient mobile experiences, and you will continue to gain the competitive advantage. At the end of the day, our goal is not to convince you to create an app, but instead to listen closely to your target audience. How have their behaviors changed in the last few months? How can your app create a better customer experience? And most importantly, what are they hoping to see from your brand?

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