Mobile app engagement rates have soared under lockdown. That’s according to customer engagement company Airship which has published the results of its global benchmark study, The State of Global Mobile Engagement 2020.
The study which examines mobile app behaviors across nearly 750 million people worldwide, shows that the global pandemic has led to massive gains for several key engagement metrics that had been trending downward. For example, year-over-year analysis for February showed that while global active mobile app audiences grew by more than 30%, the average number of app opens per user declined 28.5% to 17.6 per user per month globally.
Similarly, global average notification direct open rates decreased from 6.44 to 6.35% (-1.4%). Both of these metrics reversed this trend by growing 29% throughout March-June, averaging 22.6 app opens per user and a direct open rate of 8.2% globally.
Brands across Northern and Western Europe saw a higher increase in average direct open rates than anywhere else in the world. This trend was also evident in the UK, where average app opens per user declined 29.1% and average notification direct open rates fell 19.5% year-over-year, to then grow on average 29.7% and 40.3% respectively in March-June 2020. This suggests that consumers in countries like the UK are much more likely to open apps if encouraged by web or push notifications.
Mobile app engagement rates vary at a regional level, from markets that are more mature, to rapidly emerging markets with significant mobile-only populations, as well as by industry vertical — especially those most impacted by the global pandemic.
Notably, across the globe people opting in to share their location with apps has been on the decline for years since the introduction of GDPR — and year-over-year it declined another 2.5 % for a global average location opt-in rate of 7.7% before the pandemic. Between March-June 2020, location opt-in grew every single month, reaching 10.7% — a 39% growth rate and an absolute rate not seen since before 2018.
Retail continues to have the highest location opt-in rate among the 12 verticals included in the study at 23.1%. Three verticals saw their average location opt-in rates more than double over March-June 2020, including Medical, Health & Fitness (+150%), Finance & Insurance (+128%) and Travel & Transportation (+116%).
Among 41 countries included in the study, India, Romania, Mexico, Japan and Brazil saw the biggest gains to location opt-in rates during March-June 2020 — the UK was sixth, while the US had the ninth-largest growth rate.
The results clearly show that the pandemic has further cemented the importance of mobile to support our everyday lives. With strong growth in the use of mobile apps and consumer engagement in response to brands’ direct communications on mobile, more and more people are turning to apps as a way to engage with the brands they love.
Patrick Mareuil, MD EMEA, Airship