The Fastest Growing App Categories – and How to Succeed in Them
July 18, 2017

someone holds their phone up while sitting in a coffee shopPeople are spending an average of 3 hours and 23 minutes a day on mobile phones apps in 2017.

But, before you jump headfirst into building your next app, take a moment to “read the room” (or, read the app store, in this case) and get an understanding of which apps are hitting it big in the current market — and more importantly, why. We’re in the business of watching and analyzing app trends, and we’re here to help you stay on top of the app game.

In this list, we’ll cover the fastest growing app categories for this year, and the highly desirable features that drive successful apps in each category. If you’re trying to decide what type of app to focus on for your business, some of these categories definitely warrant a closer look.

Messaging & Social Apps

Growth: With a usage increase of 44%, social apps experienced the highest year-over-year growth from 2015 to 2016, according to Flurry Analytics. This category is booming, especially among younger generations who are constantly seeking new and exciting ways to create social connections with their friends.

The Features You Need to Succeed:

Business & Finance Apps

Growth: Usage increased a respectable 30% from 2015 to 2016, according to Flurry Analytics. These apps are rising steadily and reliably, as more convenient and enjoyable sources of information than traditional business news channels.

The Features You Need to Succeed:

Shopping Apps

Growth: Flurry Analytics reports that app usage increased 25% from 2015 to 2016. Shopping apps have become quite a threat to brick-and-mortar retail stores, as they have the digital edge of convenience, especially when capturing impulse purchases via mobile.

The Features You Need to Succeed:

Personalized Shopping: The greatest disadvantage of online shopping is the inability to try on clothing. Apps like JackThreads have gotten around this by giving users a trial period, where they can receive, try on, and return clothing. Shoppers only pay for what they keep.

Health & Fitness

Growth: Flurry’s data shows health and fitness app usage increased 18% from 2015 to 2016. For consumers who don’t want to pay a personal trainer, or attend weekly check-in meetings in-person, an app is the next best thing for support and coaching in health and fitness goals.

The Features You Need to Succeed:

Competition: For many, competition is motivation in itself. Competitive running and cycling app Strava understands this, and includes a leaderboard so users can see how their times compare to other area athletes.

Utilities & Productivity

Growth: Flurry Analytics shows that utility and productivity app usage increased 17% from 2015 to 2016 – still well above the average year-over-year app usage growth of 11%. While the other most popular app categories support different facets of user lives, productivity apps bring everything together to make sure it all gets done.

The Features You Need to Succeed:

Simplicity is Key

No matter the app category you choose, remember to keep your app simple and easy to use.

Sometimes, executives, developers, and entrepreneurs get carried away thinking about neat capabilities and third-party integrations for a new app. Remember, all decisions you make for you app should come down to creating the best experience for your users. Seeking outside feedback throughout your development cycle is crucial to ensure that what you’re designing will actually meet consumer expectations and deliver a delightful experience.

If you’re looking for a second opinion on your app idea, or an expert developer to steer you in the right direction for user experience success, reach out to Barefoot Solutions, where our experienced team is thrilled to help you get your app idea off the ground!

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