Trends in Mobile Data Consumption

When it comes to mobile apps — which never fail to keep us entertained, amused, and sometimes informed — data consumption is not the most exciting topic to cover. Yet, it affects our monthly bills and often determines which apps we choose to install and when or how we use them. Put it differently, by looking at data consumption over time, app developers and mobile network operators can better understand and mark user behavior against their business decisions, such as new app features or service changes. Mobile carriers can use this data to determine which apps are default on mobile devices and app developers can use this data to develop partnerships or optimize data usage.

There are multiple factors that impact any given app’s overall data usage, including content type, compression, rich media ads (especially in free apps), push notifications, etc. Then, of course, there are app users who increasingly pay more attention to their carrier data usage to avoid additional charges. 7Park Data’s Apps Driving Mobile Data Consumption Report: Q2 2016 reflects changes in both app development and user behavior in the past 18 months. In the report we identify recent trends based on top 25 apps driving data consumption on Android devices globally and in the following regions: Australia, Canada, Europe, Russian Federation, South America, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Below are a couple of highlights from the report.

App users around the world and in different geographic regions consume most of their data over WiFi. In the chart below, which is based on global indexed data, you can see that even as app users began to consume more data, they did so by using WiFi, not carrier data. When we looked at data usage per user in different regions, we’re able to identify a few apps that were used mostly over carrier. For example, in Australia, Europe, and the United States, Google Maps was the top glutton of carrier data. This makes sense, considering that the app is designed for on-the-go navigation. We’ll explore app data usage at an individual level in our next post on the topic.

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Whether data is used over WiFi or carrier, Google and Facebook, with their suite of content streaming and social apps, are driving over 80% of total indexed data consumed by app users globally. Important to note here that each publisher also enjoys much larger audiences (collectively across different apps) than any other app publisher, contributing to the overall data usage.

Want to check out app rankings based on data usage per user? Or want to know which Facebook app drove data consumption in Southeast Asia? Download your free copy and enjoy a few surprise findings.

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