Phablets May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Apps

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The 5- to 6.9-inch-screen smartphone is almost single-handedly responsible for a 58% increase in app sessions in 2015.


“If you have to pick one device to design for,” Jarah Euston counsels marketers, “design for the phablet.” Time spent with apps on mobile devices rose 58% during 2015, according to Flurry's annual Analytics Review, released today. Time spent on apps on a phablet increased by 334%, and people spent more time with the same apps on the large smartphones than they did on any other device.

“Phablet owners are spending more time on news sites, more time watching videos. It's become the device of choice,” says Euston, VP of growth for Yahoo, which owns app developer Flurry. “It's really about video coming into its own. For marketers using video, phablets are a much more compelling proposition.”

Flurry, which tracks 2.1 billion mobile devices on a monthly basis, found that phablets are breathing new life into media apps. The devices, with their 5- to 6.9-inch-screens, over-indexed in every media app segment. Phablet sessions on news and magazine apps were up 721% versus 135% for all devices. In sports apps the divide was 274% to 53%, and in music and entertainment it was 88% to 21%.

As a result, news and media apps enjoyed the second-highest growth rate last year. The fastest-growing category, with a rise of 332%, was personalization, which in the app world translates to customization tools for individuals' phones and messages--items like wallpaper, security devices, and emojis. An explosion of custom keyboards made that last app segment the fastest-growing of all, thanks in large part to Kim Kardashian's Kimoji, which hit number one on the AppStore its first day out.

Productivity apps grew by 119%, something Flurry attributes to people relying more on mobile devices as their primary computing device. Devices are also gaining steam as transactional machines. Lifestyle and shopping apps gained by 80% in 2015 following on 174% growth in 2014.

Flurry tracked 3.2 trillion app sessions this year, almost three times the 1.1 trillion it measured for the 2013 study. Euston (left) says that, in phablets, the mobile marketplace has achieved a Goldilocks factor of a device being “just right” to suit multiple uses.

“It's great news for marketers, it gives them more real estate to work with on the phone,” Euston says. “It allows them to create more immersive experiences.”

Source: Flurry Analytics
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