VPAs and Messaging Platforms Keep Attracting Users
A new Gartner mobile apps survey showed that the number of consumers using messaging apps and personal assistant apps is continuing to grow. The survey showed that 35 percent of respondents said they used virtual personal assistants (VPAs) in 2016, up 4 percentage points from 2015. 71 percent of respondents used messaging apps, a 3 percentage increase in 2016.
"We are witnessing the beginning of the post-app era based on the evidence that users are starting to use fewer apps actively on their smartphones," said Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner. "At the end of 2016, only 33 percent of survey respondents used six to 10 apps a month, which is down 6.2 percent from a year ago. More importantly users want rich and engaging app experiences and are increasingly looking for apps that can offer a multitude of services without users having to leave the app itself," added Ekholm.
Top 5 Smartphone Apps and VPA Apps Usage, 2015 and 2016, U.S., U.K. and China
Type of Apps
2015 Survey Respondents (%)
2016 Survey Respondents (%)
Siri and Google Now were the most used VPAs among U.S. and U.K. respondents in 2016. They were both used primarily to check the weather forecast (70 percent), find nearby or popular places to visit (44 percent), and read breaking news or other news stories (44 percent). The survey also showed that the conversational interfaces provided by VPAs, ready to serve and capable of complex actions, have the potential to replace some traditional apps. Users will shortcut apps by using VPAs to get fast information in a consolidated manner.
Facebook Messenger (81 percent) and WhatsApp (61 percent) remain the most used mobile messaging apps among US and UK respondents. In China, WeChat (95 percent) maintain their leading position. Messenger apps have become incredibly "sticky" with users with 72 percent of mobile messenger survey respondents using the app at least once per day.