What the top 10 apps of 2015 tell us about the future of tech

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Dominates Nielsen List of 2015’s Most Popular Apps.

Facebook did it again: The social network’s mobile app was once again the most-used app for U.S. smart phone users in 2o15, attracting close to 128 million monthly users on average this year, according to new data released by Nielsen this week.Facebook this year continued to hold the number one position as the top app installed on U.S. smartphones based on the average number of unique users, according to a new report out this week from Nielsen, but its mobile messaging application clocked in as the fastest-growing app of 2015.

Another one of the company’s apps, Facebook Messenger, jumped to the third spot in 2015 with more than 96 million users, up from around 53 million last year. Having foreseen the shift from more public social networking to private communications, Facebook forced users to install Messenger in spring 2014 by ripping out chat from its main app.

Taking their place were Apple Music — the streaming audio service launched in June — and Apple Maps, which has bounced back from its embarrassing launch in 2012 to attract a total of more than 54 million users. The question now will be whether or not Facebook can do the same for its next most-promising creation, the private photo-sharing app Moments which is now replacing photo-syncing on Facebook’s social network. Netflix didn’t register in those charts up until recently because the company didn’t offer an ability to subscribe to its service within its app until September of this year.

Like other publishers, Netflix had long resisted Apple’s demands to share 30 percent of its subscription revenue generated through in-app sign-ups with the Cupertino computer maker, and instead redirected users to its website to sign up. However, in September, Netflix decided to make peace with Apple and offer in-app subscriptions without charging customers a premium for fees it has to pay Apple. For what it’s worth, Facebook itself said last month that it had 1.39 billion mobile monthly users worldwide, up 23 percent year-over-year, and 217 million monthly actives (not just mobile users) in the U.S. in Canada in Q3 2015. Meanwhile, in terms of the battle between operating systems, the U.S. still slightly favors Android with a 52.6 percent market share compared with 42.7 percent for iOS. Barely 3 percent of smartphone users owned a Windows Phone device in the past year, followed by BlackBerry which somehow still managed to claim a 0.7 percent share of the market.

Remember that all these stats are U.S.-only, and are based on Nielsen’s survey data of 30,000-plus mobile subscribers, a portion of whom have mobile measurement software installed on their devices. Still, even though the stats are limited to one region, the larger trend involving a shift to private messaging and video streaming is something that’s occurring globally. According to App Annie’s data, for example, apps like WhatsApp (#1), Messenger (#3) and Snapchat (#8) are the top apps by downloads as of last month, and several of the top-grossing apps in the world are video streaming apps.

These trends will likely continue in 2016, as more users adopt messaging applications, and the cost of mobile data continues to drop, thanks in part to free data programs that let mobile consumers stream videos for free (assuming the FCC doesn’t put an end to these programs).

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