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Mobile adverts, video streaming and home working to dominate mobile app use in 2021

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The trends for increasing use of mobile apps across the pandemic are set to continue into 2021 and beyond – with some new winners coming to the fore, according to predictions based on its 2020 data by App Annie, a mobile data analytics company.

2020 reshaped and redefined daily life — with working from home, social distancing, travel restrictions and digital connections becoming new norms as countries sought to contain the spread of COVID-19. Consumers hunkered down at home and turned to the world of mobile to stay connected, entertained and informed.

In 2021, App Annie predicts monthly active users for TikTok will pass the 1 billion mark, mobile to continue to drive ‘at-home’ activities, advertising spend in the mobile sphere will increase, and there will be a further consumer boom of streaming apps.

Mobile ad spend

In 2020, mobile advertising has bucked the trend and bolstered a level of resilience for digital ad spend overall. During H1 2020, mobile ad placements increased by 70% despite reduced budgets. Given mobile’s resiliency during the pandemic, App Annie expects advertisers to continue to allocate larger portions of their budget to mobile.

While the US presidential election has helped fuel mobile ad spend in the latter part of 2020, App Annie expects ad dollars to continue to flow to smartphones in 2021. Particularly given the consumer shift to mobile is not an isolated trend — COVID-19 catalysed the habits we were already forming.

Reaching $290 billion in mobile ad spend is still subject to performance from other parts of the advertising market. A large portion of this growth is expected to come from strong m-commerce growth and the further shift from offline advertising to digital — another mobile trend accelerated by 2020 — while OTT platformshave the potential to create headwinds from eating into mobile’s share of growth.

Video streaming boom

The predictions suggest that. consumers will install up to 85% more video streaming apps in 2021 from pre-covid levels.  To stand out, companies should capitalise on features that cater to today’s socially distant, “at-home” consumers to stand out and cultivate meaningful growth in engagement into 2021.

Disney+ launched GroupWatch, a shared viewing experience — which taps into the growing trend of streaming together, while apart. App Annie expects features that enable socialising, connection and shared-experiences to be new priorities on roadmaps.

Traditional video streaming providers need to monitor peripheral market movements — such as their cross-app usage with mobile-first, user generated short-form streaming apps like TikTok and Snapchat, especially for Gen Z.

Home is where the business is

Home will remain the epicenter of social and working lives — with mobile driving 43% acceleration in “at-home” activities

In 2021, App Annie expects “at-home” activities to dominate the landscape — with mobile taking over a greater share of our lives in facilitating these activities. Time spent in key “at-home” categories is expected to top 1.3 trillion hours on Android phones alone in 2021.

Business and Education is also going to be a growth home sector, poised to see a 4-year CAGR of 57% and 62% in 2021, which is fuelled by the continued growth in collaboration and video conferencing apps like ZOOM Cloud Meetings.

M-commerce will dominate our shopping experience. Consumers will continue to rely on food delivery apps like Uber Eats to bridge the gap between restaurants and staying home. With tourism and hospitality hit hard by shelter-in-place policies, App Annie anticipates food delivery apps will be a cornerstone of restaurant strategies.

Finance: Economic uncertainty propelled adoption of finance apps during the first waves of COVID-19. App Annie expects finance apps — including retail banking and fintech providers — to continue to drive adoption into 2021 as consumers turn to their most trusted devices for peer to peer payments, banking and investing. Total time in banking apps globally will surpass 31 billion hours annually on Android phones in 2021F, representing a 4-year CAGR of 35%.

Fitness: At-home fitness apps surged in demand, and companies with a core mobile focus like Pelotonsaw phenomenal growth in revenue. App Annie foresees home fitness to continue to grow throughout 2021.

Social app boom – especially for TikTok

TikTok has seen sharp growth in active users by amassing a sizable global footprint in 2020 — nearly tripling in size since 2018. In 2021, App Annie expects TikTok to not only achieve a coveted spot in the 1 Billion monthly active users club, but to sail straight past to 1.2 billion.

As of Q3 2020, TikTok was the #2 non-gaming app by consumer spend — a testament to the breadth and depth of engagement for its user base. Whilst TikTok monetises through ads, it also allows users to transact in the app through sales of virtual gifts used for tipping streamers. TikTok’s success lies in the combination of user generated content, short looping videos and robust video editing tools.

Other notable social members of this club include FacebookWhatsApp,  and WeChat.

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