Growth in app sessions slowed in 2017, with the lifestyle category particularly hard hit, research by analytics company Flurry revealed.

So-called app activity grew 6 per cent through 2017 compared with an 11 per cent increase recorded in 2016. Indeed, use of lifestyle apps fell 40 per cent year-on-year (see chart, below, click to enlarge), which Flurry stated highlights the need for app developers “to build daily usage habits in order to retain or increase year-over-year growth”.

Gaming saw a year of decline in sessions with usage falling 16 per cent in 2017.

On the other hand, the shopping apps category grew 54 per cent as consumers continued to shift their spending into e-commerce via mobile shopping apps.

“Users are increasingly comfortable making physical purchases on their phones with now ingrained in-app digital purchase habits,” the company noted.

The category was aided by the fact digital wallet services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay allow easy access to stored payment information for mobile purchases.

Music, media and entertainment also saw an increase, with 43 per cent year-over-year growth, reaffirming users’ shift to mobile devices to consume media.

Flurry also recommended app makers should take note of the popularity of phablets: “Understanding form factor adoption is critical for both app developers and marketers, as we know that usage differs between devices. 2017 proved that there is no end in sight for phablet growth – they represent a staggering 55 per cent of active devices.”

“Although session growth may have stalled, it has never been more apparent that apps and smartphones have cemented their roles in users’ lives. While users, marketers and the tech industry drive towards what’s next, developers have an incredibly captive audience and a platform to engage them,” the company said.