In the Asia-Pacific mobile application market, mobile games are still the most popular category of downloaded apps. According to research conducted by Distimo, almost 50% of all apps downloaded were attributable to the games category. The second most popular downloaded category in Asia is entertainment, which is accountable for approximately 10-15% of all downloads. However, we know that, today, smartphones aren’t used only for calling, texting, and killing time. What is the current movement of downloading applications in Asia? Is gaming still the largest category, or are other applications, such as utility and productivity apps, taking market share? In this article, I will provide insights in what is currently happening in the Asia-Pacific mobile application market. To start, I will provide an overview of the distribution of app downloads between categories in 2011, to give an idea what the mobile app market looked like a couple years back.
The application market in 2011
As displayed above, with approximately 50% being games and 10-15% being entertainment apps, the amusement category was leading by far in 2011. Other relevant categories are social photography (~7%), networking (~5%), lifestyle (~5%), music (~5%), and various utility applications (~7%). But these categories are more than significantly less important as the amusement app industry. Also noteworthy is that there are some categories that were significantly less demanded than we would expect now, such as navigation (~1-2%), healthcare/fitness (~2%), productivity (~3%), weather (~1%), news (~2%), and shopping (~4%). In other words, in 2011, smartphones were merely used for games and other forms of entertainment, instead of being helpful and making our lives easier by assisting in our daily pursuits.
Application used for the amusement of the user were dominating the Asian market. Besides a phone’s basic functions, such as calling and texting, many considered smartphones to be an integral device for entertainment. By merely stepping out into public in almost any major city in the region, anyone could see the immense popularity mobile phones have, especially in regards to entertainment. However, with technology becoming a bigger part of our lives the last couple of years, many have started to demand more from their smartphones. Of course, it seems logical to demand the most from the device you spend the most time with, as you carry it wherever you go. This resulted in a development of app categories other than the amusing, but otherwise useless games and entertainment applications. But can we really reflect this movement into daily app downloads? Below is described a research, providing last year’s growth levels of the most important categories.
What has changed in 2015 with respect to 2011?
In the research conducted by Flurry Insights, there are three categories that show an incredible increase in downloads over the last year. Over the period April 2014 till April 2015, the categories that stand out are shopping/lifestyle (278%), news/books (134%), and utilities/productivity (89%). Also remarkable is the fact that the games category only increased with 26%.
This indicates an interesting movement. Over the last years, we’ve adopted technology as a big part of our lives. This also means that we don’t use phones just for calling, texting, and killing time anymore, but demand that our device assists us with everything we do in our daily lives. As can be seen in the graph, we are increasingly using our smartphones for shopping, reading the news, utilities, and to enhance our productivity. The increase in games and entertainment app downloads reflects a growth that is fairly equal to the increase in mobile users, whereas the increase in utilities, news, and shopping apps is exponentially and clearly shows the movement towards technology adoption in every way. As this is only the start of this movement, we ask ourselves: for how long will games be the most downloaded application category? When will the time come in which we predominantly download apps that usefully make our lives easier?