This is a guest post by Chris Klotzbach, Director at Flurry Analytics.
Last week was a big week for Apple. But, even with the launch of the new iPhone and the Apple Watch 2, it wasn’t these shiny new devices that generated the most buzz. Rather, it was the software and apps Apple introduced for them. With 90% of time spent on mobile taking place in apps, it comes as no surprise that app behavior is dictating some of the biggest changes in the industry.
All this in mind, our team at Flurry Analytics was curious — how does Apple’s latest stack up against the biggest mobile trends we saw take shape last year? And how will they impact the next phase of mobile growth? Here’s what we found.
Gaming. Our data shows that games were the one of the only app category to see a decrease in growth in 2015 (-1% compared to the overall growth across all categories at 58%). With this trend in mind, it may seem contradictory that Apple announced the launch of Super Mario on iOS and Pokémon Go on the Apple Watch. But our data doesn’t prove that mobile gaming have become less popular. What many don’t recognize is that the growth in games is largely driven by major gaming hits, like Candy Crush and Temple Run, and last year was devoid of any big gaming wins. With that in mind, Apple’s big bet on Super Mario and Pokémon could bode well for growth in the gaming category by this time next year.
Health and fitness. This category of apps has been on a steady rise for the past few years, and this year has been no different. For the first time ever, both iOS and Android apps in this category fall within or very close to Quadrant I of our app retention matrix, which signifies apps that have high retention and high loyalty. This is great news for the newly-announced Apple Watch 2, which offers more fitness-focused features, including a built-in GPS and water resistance. Based on the current growth trajectory of health and fitness apps, the Watch 2 is well-poised for success.
Photography. Similar to gaming apps, the photography category experienced a near-stagnant year in 2015 (-5% growth). But judging by the new advancements to the iPhone 7’s camera, this lull seems like the calm before the storm. The new dual sensor camera, true tone flash, and larger aperture lens open new doors for photo app developers to build more compelling photography apps and features for consumers. And with content being one of the main driving forces behind mobile engagement, consumers will be looking for the newest and shiniest app to help them create fresh content to share with their followers.