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Mobile phones have come a long way since the days of downloadable ringtones and wallpapers. The modern smartphone is the gateway to an endless world of entertainment and critical services, which could scarcely have been imagined in the earliest days of mobile devices.

This report provides detailed insight and analysis into the apps and services people from around the world use their smartphone for in 2021. In addition, the report also provides a deep dive analysis of 6 key uses including gaming, watching video content, and using social media.

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Executive Summary

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Some of the findings from the Mobile Apps User Survey

  • APP USAGE. Playing games is the most popular smartphone activity,  alongside social media, watching video content and listening to music.
  • OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH. There is significant room to increase smartphone usage by making current activities more compelling. Globally the most popular activities are still only used by up to 68% of users.
  • BARRIERS TO HIGHER USAGE. The biggest barrier to increased usage is that users currently don’t see a need.
  • EASE OF USE. Most users agree that ease of use of smartphone apps and activities is important, and the overall experience is positive. Brazil appears least concerned about ease of use.
  • BRAZIL. Brazil presents a unique case amongst countries surveyed. All the smartphone activities are popular in Brazil, yet data costs appear to be a major constraint on frequent usage.
  • INNOVATION. Higher levels of smartphone usage will be driven by new innovative and compelling activities and applications.

This report is based on 6500 interviews across  10 countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, Spain, UK, USA.

Talking about chat apps, had I not seen the findings of the report, I would never have believed that those in the 55+ year age group access social media at least once per week, more than any other. It might appear that the real youth of today are leading the way here but leave it to the silver surfers. A surprising reality. So keep an eye out for this. And something enterprises really need to understand and get their heads around properly in their customer engagement channel mix.

James WilliamsDirector of Programmes