Overall use of mobile apps soared by 115 percent in 2013, according to a new report from analytics firm Flurry.
Every category tracked by Flurry grew in use over the past year. Utilities and productivity apps rose by 149 percent, music and entertainment apps by 78 percent, and games by 66 percent. But the biggest leap was achieved by messaging and social apps, which climbed by 203 percent, the firm said in a blog post Monday.
Trying to explain the growth of social apps, Flurry cited the buzz over such programs as SnapChat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, KakaoTalk, and Line. As one example of the power of social networks, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi launched a new smartphone to WeChat users last year, triggering sales of 150,000 smartphones in just under 10 minutes.
Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra recently portrayed China's mobile market to CNET as fast-moving and dominated by Chinese-native apps like Weibo, QQ, Alipay, and WeChat.
"Every person I know is on WeChat," Barra said. "We don't use phone, instant messaging, or text messaging," he said. "It's refreshing when your entire social life is on one platform."
The capper to last year? On December 31, 2013, at 11:59 p.m., Flurry tracked 4.7 billion app sessions, a one-day record. And for the entire year, the firm saw a total of 1.12 trillion sessions.
Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and other mobile platforms, Flurry's analytics service is used by 125,000 companies to measure their mobile app use, according to Flurry. The service reaches around 1.2 billion devices per month and records on average 3.5 billion app sessions per day, as described on Flurry's Web site.