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Younger generation less interested in gaming apps

business Updated: Jun 17, 2013 11:09 IST

Study of app usage and habits on Apple devices shows that mobile gaming is less popular among 25-34-year-olds than any other demographic and that young women are the most likely to use health and fitness apps on a regular basis.

The result of the Flurry Analytics survey published on Thursday at the SourceDigital13 conference in New York, which took a random sample of app usage data for 15,271 US iOS device owners over the month of May, shows that in general, consumers are plugged into apps throughout the day from 5am through to 4am the morning after and that the volume of usage slowly increases throughout the day, peaking between 6pm and 10pm each evening -- suggesting that even when the average smartphone and tablet owner is sitting in front of the TV, their mobile devices are also keeping them company.

This is not a surprise as the second screen phenomenon is something that has already been studied and written about in some depth over the last two years; however, what does seem to run against received wisdom is that although games are the most popular types of app within Apple's App Store (over the platform's five-year history, no paid-for app has come close to outselling Angry Birds, in fact the top 25 paid-for apps of all time on Apple's App Store are all games titles), gaming on a smartphone or tablet appears to be less appealing to the younger generation than any other demographic.

"Given the popularity of game apps you might expect that Millennials drive that usage, but in fact they under-index for game app usage. It turns out that it's the middle aged Gen X-ers who grew up with gaming consoles who are over-indexing on games," explains Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf in an accompanying blog post in support of the data. He points out that the younger generation also ‘under-index' in terms of times spent when it comes to using utilities and news apps.

However, they over-index on sports, health and fitness apps and on music, entertainment, lifestyle and shopping apps.

Gender and preferred app genre

When this data was analyzed further and separated by gender, Flurry found that this massive spike in popularity when it comes to sports, health and fitness was wholly due to young women -- in fact 25-34-year-old women spend over 200 percent more time logged into these apps than the rest of the population. However, the positions are reversed when it comes to entertainment with young men the biggest users of music and media apps across all demographics.

Yet overall, gaming remains the single most popular app-based activity on smartphones and tablets, for the time being at least. Flurry's results also show that social media is starting to catch up thanks in part to the proliferation of different types of network -- from Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram -- each of which is attracting more and more user attention. And, while not as popular as either Facebook or games, mobile shopping and lifestyle apps are starting to establish themselves in mobile device users' lives. Flurry found that such apps are in use at all times of the day, whether morning, noon or night.

As Khalaf highlights: "Wearable computing already arrived with the smartphone. Our data confirms what many of us know from experience: smartphones, tablets and the apps installed on them appear to be glued to consumers 24/7, 365. They are with us when we wake, work, exercise, eat, play and yes, even when we sleep. We have entered the era of 'wearable computing' without needing the wearable gear. Even ahead of the mainstream adoption of Google Glass or Apple's rumored wrist device, consumers are already embracing the wearable lifestyle with smartphones and tablets."