The mobile landscape is bouncing back after a dramatic change in consumer behavior seen in 2020, and Sensor Tower Usage Intelligence data shows that the number of unique apps used on mobile devices in the United States each month has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Despite this, some enduring trends have begun to emerge, and the types of applications that have been interacted with have changed over time.
App interactions are more selective than before the pandemic
Not surprisingly, the number of apps opened monthly on smartphones and tablets in the US has skyrocketed in 2020, reports Apptractor. The company’s analysis showed that in 2020, on average, a user interacted with nearly 50 apps for entertainment, work, and communication during the onset of the pandemic.
When public spaces began to reopen in 2021, the number of apps used each month dropped, not only compared to the overuse of mobile devices in 2020, but also compared to 2019. Again, this is not necessarily indicative of a downward trend in app usage, but rather a return to roughly the same trajectory we saw before the pandemic, helped by the continued normalization of daily life.
Use of medical, business and financial applications continues to grow
While devices in the US averaged the same number of apps per month in 2021 compared to 2019, the types of apps vary. In 2021, collaborative medical apps grew by 52.2% compared to 2019, business apps by nearly 49%, and financial apps by 32.5%.
Compared to other categories, more unique mobile games are opened on devices in the US each month, notes NIX Solutions. In 2021, there were an average of 15.6 unique games opened each month, with the Utilities and Social categories in second place with 3.7 unique apps each.
However, the number of mobile games opened each month is declining, with the average d+own almost 8 percent in 2021, compared to nearly 17 games per month in 2019. By comparison, non-gaming app usage grew by nearly 3 percent to almost 31 per month on average. This significant decline compared to 2020 was due to a significant increase in mobile game downloads at the start of the pandemic.