Our friends at Flurry have written a very interesting blog on app growth in 2013. Every single app category has grown in 2013 and overall app usage is up 115%. What an extraordinary statistic, coming on the back of years of sustained growth.
What caught our eye most was the categories of app that grew most quickly. These were Messaging & Social and Utilities & Productivity. We wrote a blog about massaging and social, particularly the huge growth in WeChat back in October and you can read it here.
We were wondering what it is that drives people to use messaging apps rather than text messaging – particularly as we noticed recently that, in the latest version of Android, text messaging has been fully integrated into Google Hangouts – removing it as a stand-alone function in its own right. Traditionally people use to think that users were using messaging services rather than SMS to save money – but it is more than that – it is all about where your friends hang out. Is it Facebook? Is it Google Hangouts? Is it What’s App or Twitter? The opportunity for the big social players is getting everyone to go to their app or site first.
This got us thinking. Twitter, Facebook and Google all have major traction in being the home of the web – either with apps or by being the first place people go to when they surf the internet. But at the moment Apple and Microsoft do not. Sure lots of people visit Apple’s app store and iTunes – but this is to find content – it is hardly the first place that people go to on the web, either for news, views or to find friends. We were wondering whether Apple plans to do anything about this, particularly in the face of Android being a far more popular smartphone platform than iOS currently.
So could 2014 hold a surprise acquisition from Apple? And if so which of the social platforms do you think is the most likely to attract the attention of the Cupertino giant?