As 2017 draws to a close, we begin to gain clarity on the most popular trends of the year. Companies begin to assemble lists to document the most popular products and services. Apple is no different. Earlier this month Apple revealed its most downloaded apps of 2017 and whilst some are fairly predictable, some represent movements towards technology trends. Here’s a roundup of the most downloaded tablet and mobile apps of 2017.
Although Snapchat may not have had the most favourable time this year, this is not reflected in this year’s breakdown of the most popular apps. Bitmoji belongs to Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat. Bitmoji allows users to create their own personal avatar that can be customised to look like themselves. This cartoon mini-me will then be entwined within expressive stickers that can be used within Snapchat, text messages or emails to illustrate your emotions.
The plummeting stock price of Snapchat this year did not affect the consumer downloads of 2017, with Snapchat securing the second spot on the most downloaded apps of 2017. Snapchat was the most downloaded app of 2016, relegating one place thanks to its own sister company, Snapchat. Its popular concept proved popular amongst a younger demographic, with most users belonging to the age group 18-24. Other social media channels like Instagram and Facebook have attempted to utilise Snapchat’s most popular feature by allowing their users to share stories on their profiles, but Snapchat has remained high up of the list of most downloadable apps. The app beat out the other two social media channels by far, but could this year be the last time the app features on the list?
As previously mentioned, the stock price of Snapchat took a serious hit this year as the acquisition of users failed to meet desired targets. Snap Inc. may have made a serious mistake by failing to accommodate Android users as quickly as iOS. The quality and capabilities of Snapchat on Android are just not up to the same standard of iOS, which could contribute to the demising user downloads. Lazy coding, meaning Android users are actually sending live camera screenshots instead of actual photographs, can put users off and contribute to the dwindling downloads. If Snapchat wants to continue its rule, they can no longer afford to ignore the huge Android demographic. Whilst this will not affect the placement within this list, an increased satisfaction with Android users can only encourage more usage of the platform.
YouTube has remained a smartphone favourite, with its smart design making the usability of the app better than ever. Whilst the video streaming app has experienced some controversy surrounding the use of the site for sharing violent and offensive content, its quick response to tackling the issue by hiring over 10,000 moderators demonstrated its attempt to tackling the site being used to promote abuse or hate speech. YouTube has utilised machine learning to assist moderators to find and remove hundreds of accounts and comments not adhering to YouTube’s standards.
Facebook’s decision to move its messaging feature to a separate application has proved successful as both Facebook and Messenger make it into the top 10 downloaded apps by Apple users. With over 17 billion video chats, 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs shared on Facebook Messenger, it is clear that users are turning towards visual aids to illustrate their messaging, which reflects the number one spot on this list.
Facebook Messenger can be used for more than socialising with friends. Brands and businesses are beginning to utilise the messaging app by integrating customer service initiatives like chatbots. Back in November, Facebook introduced a plug-in for businesses looking to connect with their customers and clients through a more informal and accessible platform.
Even though Instagram tried to incorporate one of Snapchat’s most popular features, the story, it failed to knock Snapchat off the top spot. Although the Instagram hasn’t topped the list, the app seems to be going from strength to strength with eMarketer predicting over a third of social media users using Instagram by 2021 and the social networking site doubling its advertising revenue to $10.87 billion by 2019.
In Apple's summary of the most downloaded apps of 2017, Apple concluded that there were four key breakout trends reflected in the development and downloads. Augmented Reality (AR), the rise of real-time competitive gaming, apps that focused on mental health and mindfulness, and apps transforming storytelling and reading.
Whilst some of the trends aren't reflected in the list, the visual aspect of applications like Bitmoji, Instagram, Messenger and Snapchat demonstrate how the way we communicate online is evolving. Users are expecting a more interactive way of communication and with emerging technologies like AR and Virtual Reality (VR) rapidly developing, this is a trend that is likely to carry through to 2018.
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