Facebook and Google are dominating the US mobile app space, owning all of the top six apps with the highest reach and accounting for eight of the top 10 apps, according to comScore’s 2017 US Mobile App Report, which ranked the top 10 apps by their penetration, or reach, of the US mobile app audience.
The report shows how significant Facebook’s and Google’s influence is over the mobile app market. The two companies aren’t leaving much space for other publishers to get their apps in front of users. US app users spend 90% of their mobile app time in their top five apps, making up 51% of total digital time spent.
- Facebook dominates US app reach. Facebook’s main app took the top spot, boasting 81% app audience penetration. With around 147 million monthly users, the Facebook app ranks the highest among all mobile apps in terms of monthly users on both smartphone and tablets. Following close behind, Facebook Messenger took third place with 68% app audience penetration, while Instagram achieved sixth place with 50%.
- Google owned the most apps in the top 10. YouTube took the second spot overall with 71% app audience penetration, and Google’s Search app took fourth place with 61%. Google Maps followed close behind in fifth with 57%, Google Play was rated eighth with 47%, and Gmail was in ninth place with 44%.
As the app ecosystem consolidates under the umbrellas of Facebook and Google, brands and developers will need to look to new avenues of user engagement other than their own apps. For example, mini-app experiences such as Google's Instant Apps and Facebook's Instant Games can provide businesses with the opportunity to leverage more popular apps — namely Google Search and Facebook Messenger — to get in front of where users are already spending a large portion of their mobile time.
In 2009, Apple coined the phrase “there’s an app for that,” and within six years, its prophecy had been fulfilled.
Apps had become the primary way people navigate the internet, overtaking mobile and desktop web browsers. And now they account for the vast majority of time spent on mobile devices.
But, despite this dominance, an intensifying engagement crisis is putting the ecosystem at risk. App usage is consolidating and once they've tried an app, users mostly aren’t coming back for more.
This shift could usher in a "post-app" era, which could transform the way consumers access the internet and digital services. Mobile tech giants Apple, Facebook, and Google have each put in motion strategies that best ensure they emerge not only unscathed, but ahead of their competition. At stake is the dominance of an industry projected to reach $102 billion in value globally by 2020.
Laurie Baever, research associate for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has written a report on the end of apps that assesses the evolving app landscape, examines how the existing app model is threatened by the decline of broad app usage, profiles the promising new tech in the space across Apple, Facebook, and Google, and explores barriers standing in the way of user adoption.
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