Most Popular Mobile App Category? Social? No, it is Not #1 or #2

Nielsen’s finding that the most popular category of apps used in a 30-day period is not a surprising one: Games (64%). What is a bit more interesting with a few surprises are the app categories that fall under games.

Play Before Work: Games Most Popular Mobile App Category in US

Weather apps beat out Social Networking apps for the number 2 spot (60% vs. 56%). The only other app category with more than 50% of use in a 30-day period was maps/navigation/search.

Communications apps like Instant Messaging and VoIP (Skype, fring, etc.) were way down in the bottom third of the list at 20% usage. However, with millions of smartphone users in the world, a one out of five usage finding is very good. That is still a big number. Travel apps are a good case in point. Only 18% of people reported using a travel app in the 30-day reporting period. But, that makes sense since the vast majority of people are not traveling. However, travel apps are critical tools for the small percentage but still a large number of people that do.

The biggest surprise to me was that only 21% of people surveyed reported using a productivity app in the past 30 days. I wonder if this was a question wording issue or actually accurately reflects how people use smartphones.