In August of this year, I put together a post entitled “8 statistics every business should know about mobile.” In it, I cited a study performed by Flurry Analytics in November of 2012 that analyzed time spent on iOS and Android smart devices by app category. (See below if you need a refresher):

The theme of my post was about how custom mobile app development was more important than ever for growing revenues and improving bottom lines for companies regardless of industry or vertical. But, one of the first things you might notice about the chart above is that games, social networking and entertainment made up 79 percent of the pie. So, if people are spending all of their time on those things, how would producing a custom app really help your business all that much? Are people actually going to spend time with productivity or utility apps?

In August, I cautioned that this was not a holistic review of the data, however:

“This statistic would seem to paint a grim portrait for enterprises looking to augment their productivity or grow revenues by developing a custom mobile app. Likewise, it seems that consumers only want to play games or socially network on their mobile devices. But, I think that ignores the current state of the mobile app world. In the beginning, independent developers saw the app store as a way to make a lot of money, all on their own. If you created the next Angry Birds or Words With Friends, you were home free as a development shop. Likewise, Facebook and Twitter embraced the disruptive force of mobile and launched top-notch apps into the space early on. My contention is that there is an ever-growing pie of time individuals are willing to spend on their mobile devices using apps. And, few enterprises have done a good job of tapping into that opportunity. Their apps are either clunky, don’t work very well, or display weak or unattractive user experiences. This statistic should not dissuade your company from looking into the mobility space for revenue growth or cost saving, it should encourage it. There is a massive opportunity to capitalize on the mobile boom, if only enterprises knew how to do so effectively.”

Flurry recently released a report for 2013, which confirms the suspicions I voiced six months ago:

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The first thing to note is that mobile use grew 115% — that’s more than double the amount of time spent on smart devices in 2013 over 2012, which is staggering in and of itself (further demonstrating the need for companies to embrace custom mobile solutions…). And yes, messaging and social apps are still the big winners, because they grew by 203 percent (meaning usage tripled over that same time period). But, the stat in which I’m most interested is the second place finisher:

Utilities & Productivity

App usage overall increased by 115% — the only two app categories that grew faster than that were “messaging & social” and “utilities & productivity.” Sure, music/media/entertainment, lifestyle/shopping, games, sports/health/fitness, and news/magazines all grew anywhere from 31 to 78 percent, but they all trailed growth in the utilities & productivity category. Furthermore, both games and entertainment lost ground on utilities & productivity compared to 2012.

That’s big news for enterprises.

Companies are finally realizing that if you build engaging, innovative and intuitive apps, adoption and usage will follow. Users want helpful applications that make their lives and careers easier, which utilities & productivity apps are specifically intended to do. Forward-thinking enterprises jumped aboard that bandwagon early and are leading the charge to capture market share among mobile app users.

The only question you need to ask yourself is, how much more are you willing to let this sector grow before you start cashing in?