Airship’s Data Study of Nearly 750 Million Individual App Users Finds Mobile App Engagement Rates Have Soared Under Lockdown
Airship’s State of Global Mobile Engagement 2020 report provides key year-over-year mobile trends and clarifies the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mobile apps
Customer engagement company Airship revealed top-level results of its global benchmark study, examining the state of mobile app behaviors across nearly 750 million people worldwide. To distinguish between the impact of the pandemic and longer-term changes due to growing data regulations, more stringent app review policies by Apple and Google and ongoing evolution in user behavior, February 2020 was used for year-over-year analysis and then compared to March-June 2020.
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Key findings show that the global pandemic led to massive gains for several key engagement metrics that have been trending downward. For example, year-over-year analysis for February showed that while global active mobile app audiences grew by more than 30 percent, the average number of app opens per user declined 28.5 percent to 17.6 app opens per user per month globally. Similarly, global average notification direct open rates decreased from 6.44 percent to 6.35 percent (-1.4%). Both of these metrics reversed this trend by growing 29 percent throughout March-June, averaging 22.6 app opens per user and a direct open rate of 8.2 percent globally. Brands across Northern and Western Europe saw a higher increase in average direct open rates than anywhere else in the world. This trend was also evident in the U.K., where average app opens per user declined 29.1 percent and average notification direct open rates fell 19.5 percent year-over-year, to then grow on average 29.7 percent and 40.3 percent respectively in March-June 2020. This suggests that consumers in countries like the U.K. are much more likely to open apps if encouraged by web or push notifications.
Mobile app engagement metrics vary at a regional level, from markets that are more mature, to rapidly emerging markets with significant mobile-only populations, as well as by industry vertical — especially those most impacted by the global pandemic. For a full view of findings by subregion, industry vertical and mobile operating system, please download Airship’s “The State of Global Mobile Engagement 2020” report.
Notably, across the globe people opting in to share their location with apps has been on the decline for years since the introduction of GDPR — and year-over-year it declined another 2.5 percent for a global average location opt-in rate of 7.7 percent before the pandemic. Between March-June 2020, location opt-in grew every single month, reaching 10.7 percent — a 39 percent growth rate and an absolute rate not seen since before 2018.
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Retail continues to have the highest location opt-in rate among the 12 verticals included in the study at 23.1 percent. Three verticals saw their average location opt-in rates more than double over March-June 2020, including Medical, Health & Fitness (+150%), Finance & Insurance (+128%) and Travel & Transportation (+116%).
Among 41 countries included in the study, India, Romania, Mexico, Japan and Brazil saw the biggest gains to location opt-in rates during March-June 2020 — the U.K. was sixth, while the U.S. had the ninth largest growth rate.
“The results clearly show that the pandemic has further cemented the importance of mobile to support our everyday lives. With strong growth in the use of mobile apps and consumer engagement in response to brands’ direct communications on mobile, more and more people are turning to apps as a way to engage with the brands they love,” says Patrick Mareuil, managing director for EMEA at Airship. “Consumers have adopted new behaviours and greater mobile interaction during the pandemic for in-the-moment information and streamlined conveniences, and much of this will continue to grow in the future. Therefore, marketing teams should further invest in mobile to seize this trend, supporting customers with a direct, contactless experience to ensure they have access to all they need at their fingertips.”
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