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State of Mobile Report 2019

Written by Mike Page

10 Need-to-Know Facts for the Accountant

The top-level findings in the industry’s leading annual mobile insights report “State of Mobile 2019” suggest that there is no longer any industry or company that can afford to ignore mobile and in 2019, it will be the vital thread that runs through the entire business world. The trend toward mobile is set to have massive ramifications for every industry and in the report compiled by App Annie, mobile is predicted to continue to rapidly grow and deliver a real opportunity for businesses looking to undertake mobile transformation.

Mobile is now firmly at the heart of the digital economy with over 50% of the world’s population — 3.9 billion people —estimated to be online in 2018, and 96% of the world’s population living within range of a mobile network. In 2018, there were over 4 billion mobile devices — inclusive of tablets and phones — with many people in mature markets having multiple devices.

Two key findings in the report relating specifically to the mobile effect in the financial sphere will be of particular interest to accountants.  The report finds that global downloads of finance Apps were up 75% from 2016 and there has been a significant growth in sessions in fintech Apps—this is said to indicate their ‘stickiness’ and ability to foster habit forming behaviors.

This is excellent news for accounting firms, as it confirms that mobile technology and specifically Apps can be leveraged to deliver better and more profitable client relationships.  The role that mobile technology plays cannot be underestimated, as it allows accountants to engage with clients on their smartphones and tablets digitally 24/7, and they get to live in their clients’ pockets and at the heart of their mobile lives.

1. Global Downloads of Finance Apps Hit 3.4B in 2018, Up 75% from 2016

Of the selected markets, emerging markets like Brazil, India and Indonesia saw the strongest growth in app downloads from 2016 to 2018.

2. Global App Downloads Exceeded 194B in 2018, Up 35% from 2016

Mature markets like the US continue to see large, consistent numbers of new downloads annually, but growth has slowed. However, growth in these mature markets is strongest when it comes to indicators of user engagement—sessions and time spent—and consumer spend.

3. Fintech Apps Carve Out Larger User Bases and Foster Habit-Forming Behaviors

Growth in sessions of top fintech apps indicate the stickiness of these services and their ability to become weekly—even daily—habits. 2018 marked a turning point for fintech apps, with many making a move into consumer banking. With strong adoption and a mobile-first strategy, fintech companies represent a clear disruptive threat to the traditional retail banking industry.

4. Time Spent in Apps Globally Grew 50% From 2016 to 2018

The 5 categories with the fastest growing global market share were Video Players & Editors, Entertainment, Photography, Tools and Finance, respectively. Combined, total time spent in these 5 categories grew 110% from 2016. Social and Communications apps made up 50% of total time spent globally in apps in 2018, followed by Video Players and Editors at 15% and Games at 10%. Time spent grew both from time spent per device and from increases in global install bases.

5. The Average Consumer in the US, South Korea, Japan and Australia Has Over 100 Apps on Their Smartphone

South Korea, Canada, the US, Thailand, the UK and Australia all saw significant two-year growth in the average number of apps installed on smartphone devices.

6. Point-of-Sale Fintech App PayPay Saw Meteoric Rise in User Base in First Two Months

PayPay is a fintech app by Softbank in Japan that allows users to pay in-store by scanning a QR code linked to a Yahoo! Wallet account. The app has seen phenomenal adoption since its October 2018 launch. Its smartphone weekly active users (WAU) in Japan grew 46x over the four weeks ending with the week of December 2, 2018.

7. Over 685 Billion Hours Spent Globally in Social and Comms Apps in 2018, Up 35% From 2016

Half of time spent on mobile globally was in Social and Communication category apps in 2018. While time spent in social networking and messaging apps grew year-over-year in 2018, it represented a slightly smaller portion of total time spent on mobile—indicating that mobile’s importance continues to spread into other areas of our lives.

8. Mobile Transformation Pays Dividends and Dramatically Outperforms GDP Growth in Key Economies

Japan, Brazil and the UK were the top three countries where mobile consumer spend advanced significantly faster than overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This reflects the strength of the mobile economy, and how prioritizing mobile through infrastructure, education and legislation will continue to have a positive impact on overall GDP.

9. Gen Z Defines the World Order Through Mobile

Gen Z (aged 16-24) engages more on average with their most used non-gaming apps than those aged 25 and older. Specifically, Gen Z spends 20% more time and engages with their most-used apps 30% more often than the rest of the population. For Gen Z, mobile is second nature and used across nearly all aspects of life — communication, socializing, shopping, banking, etc. Mobile is non-negotiable to any business hoping to attract this demographic.

10.  The Average User Checks Their Bank Account on Mobile Nearly Daily in 2018, up 35% From 2016

In 2018, users in the UK checked their bank apps over 7x a week, a reflection of the UK as a fintech hub. This has put pressure on traditional banking to maintain their relevance in the face of fintech competition. Users in Australia checked their bank apps nearly 10x per week, fueled by an embedded culture of peer-to-peer transfers within banking apps.


This report makes it clear that 2018 marked a turning point for fintech Apps, and their strong adoption represents a threat to those businesses that ignore mobile and continue with traditional methods of communication. Increasingly, mobile is becoming non-negotiable and consumers expect their chosen service providers to adopt a mobile strategy that fits in with the always “on” world and the way they prefer to connect.

App Annie State of Mobile Report 2019

About the author

Mike Page

Mike Page is Head of Product Management and Customer Experience strategy at MyFirmsApp™, developers of the largest global App platform for accountants. As a qualified accountant himself, Mike appreciates the challenges faced by the profession in a world where always-on clients are demanding instant answers and he firmly believes that Apps can help put accountants at the heart of their clients’ mobile lives.

As App stacks and App Add on Communities grow, the role of MyFirmsApp as the leading App integrator for accountants will become increasingly critical. Mike's goal is to put an App in every accounting firm in the world.

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