Flurry, the mobile app analytics firm owned by Yahoo, has published its 2015 year in review, diving into the trends in apps throughout the last year. As it has done for the past few years, the usage of mobile apps rose in 2015, to the tune of 58%. In particular, 2015 saw major growth in the usage of apps in the categories of Personalization, News and Magazines, and Productivity, which all grew by triple-digits. The past year also saw a continued rise in the usage of large smartphones, also known as phablets.
The Personalization category, which includes apps like emoji keyboards and Android lock screens, swelled in usage by more than 344% compared to 2014. Emoji keyboards specifically seemed to be driving this growth. News and magazine apps were also popular in the last year, growing 141% as media consumption moves from TV and PCs to phones and tablets.
As more consumers shift to using phones and tablets as their primary computers over traditional PCs, the Productivity category has taken off, growing by 119%. Productivity is a broad category, covering email and other communication apps like Slack, along with things like Google Docs, Quip, and Microsoft Office.
The Lifestyle and Shopping category also experienced a significant uptick in 2015, growing by 80% over the previous year. Additionally, this category now accounts for 33% of online commerce in the United States, and 40% worldwide.
Large phones like the iPhone 6s Plus continue to grow in popularity. Flurry's data shows that of the devices activated during the 2015 Christmas holiday, 27% were so-called phablets. Flurry predicts that if the current trend holds, these large-screened devices will be the dominant phone form-factor by October 2016. Time spent on phablets also increased 334%, compared to 117% for mobile devices overall.
In 2015, Flurry tracked 3.2 trillion sessions, with a session defined as a user opening an app. The company recently revealed that it tracks around 780,000 individual apps.