After nearly nine years, the app market shows no sign of slowing down. Here are the very positive headline findings of an exhaustive review of the app market for 2016 by market tracker App Annie.

App downloads rose 15 per cent, time spent in apps leapt 25 per cent and China overtook the US as the world’s biggest app market.

These are the headline findings the company’s 2016 Retrospective (download it for free here) countering prevailing arguments that apps are on the decline.

Many commentators have suggested that consumers are suffering app fatigue, and that new ways to access information such as chat bots and voice-controlled platforms (Google Now, Siri, Echo) could supplant them.

Maybe one day. But for now, the app market is still growing – nearly nine years after it was created by Apple.

App Annie’s report is packed with metrics on the app market in 2016. But we have boiled it down to ten key findings:

  • People spent nearly 900 billion hours in apps in 2016. That was 150 billion hours more than 2015. In the US, app users spent 25 per more time in apps than the previous year.
  • App downloads for 2016 across iTunes and Google Play reached over 90 billion, an increase of more than 13 billion on 2016. More than two thirds of downloads were on Android.
  • App publishers earned $35 billion in revenue from iTunes and Google Play. This is 40 per cent up year on year. Typically, iTunes paid out more. In fact, around $23 billion was paid out on the Apple platform.
  • Direct revenue from iTunes and Google Play is less than half of all app-related revenue. When third-party Android stores and advertising is included, total 2016 income was nearly $89 billion.
  • Unsurprisingly, games still dominate the app business. App Annie says games generated 75 per cent of revenue on the iOS App Store and 90 per cent on Google Play.
  • It took Pokémon GO just 110 days to reach $800 million. It is easily the most successful mobile game ever. Candy Crush Saga took more than 250 to reach the same milestone in 2012.
  • India is now the biggest country for Google Play downloads. In 2016, it surpassed the US with around 70 billion downloads.
  • China is now number one in iOS App Store downloads and revenue. The country delivered $2 billion in publisher revenue, and its Q4 haul was the biggest quarter for any country in App Store history. Revenues for social networking apps, for example, rose 7.2x year on year to Q4 2016.
  • Video streaming apps are delivering huge spikes in revenue. The report shows these apps – largely YouTube, Netflix and Youku – earned 2.5x more in 2016 in the US and 3.7x more in China. App Annie says this shows consumers are willing to use in-app purchases even when they can pay with a card on a service’s website.
  • The number of sessions inside retail banking apps doubled in France, the UK and Germany. In the UK alone sessions went from just over a billion to well over two billion.

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