The Apps Winning the Battle For Our Attention Span
With the smartphone as the centerpiece of the new global consumer economy, how we allocate our screentime between the myriad of apps that exist is becoming a very telling statistic.
After all, the companies that win the battle for app mindshare will have unfettered access to billions of consumers, as well as the economic opportunities that emerge from that access.
The Duopoly vs. Everyone Else
Most know that Facebook and Google, the two tech giants that are lovingly referred to as “The Duopoly” by advertising executives, are already capturing $0.60 of every dollar spent on advertising online.
And now, through acquisitions, The Duopoly is showing that they are able to stay ubiquitous as consumers spend even more time on their smartphones.
According to recent data from Apptopia, the global app ecosystem is dominated by Facebook and Google owned apps. Together, among the top 100 apps, their products account for 54% of all screen time.
What’s up with WhatsApp?
In particular, Facebook’s showing is impressive here: users spend an average of 79 minutes per day in its apps.
What’s even more interesting is that this is mainly due to the success of WhatsApp, a company that Facebook successfully acquired for $19 billion in 2014. WhatsApp has a user base well beyond 1 billion people, and in the last three months it saw 82.21 billion hours of time spent on the messaging app – more than any other.
Here are the 10 top apps, in terms of screen time, as estimated by Apptopia:
- Google Maps
Note: May-July 2018. Data is global and includes iOS and Android. Excludes third-party app stores.
To understand the dominance of WhatsApp, keep in mind the top-viewed game over this May-July 2018 period was Clash of Clans, in which users spent 3.83 billion hours. Compared to WhatsApp’s 82 billion hours, that’s just a drop in the bucket!
Facebook owns three of the top four apps, even though the company isn’t the base of any ecosystem like Google or Apple. The question it does face however, is how it will monetize WhatsApp and Messenger, each apps with over 1 billion users.
Most Downloaded Apps
In 2017, WhatsApp was downloaded a whopping 924 million times.
Here’s how that compares to other top apps in different categories based on 2017 data:
|Category||App||# of Downloads (2017)|
|Music and Audio||Spotify||299 million|
|Games||Subway Surfers||190 million|
|Food and Drink||Subway||35 million|
As you can see, WhatsApp (and other social apps) blow away the competition from all other categories.
It’s something that Facebook is likely quite happy about, though for now it’s still hard to put a number on the value of WhatsApp to the mother company.
Ranked: The World’s Top 10 Electronics Exporters (2000-2021)
Here are the largest electronics exporters by country, highlighting how electronics trade has increasingly shifted to Asia over 20 years.
Top 10 Electronics Exporters in the World (2000-2021)
From personal computers to memory chips, the electronics trade plays a vital role in the world economy. In 2021, global electronics exports reached $4.1 trillion according to McKinsey Global Institute.
This graphic shows the 10 largest electronics exporters in the world, based on data from McKinsey, and how they’ve changed since 2000.
Ranked: The Top 10 Exporters of Electronics
Which countries are the leading exporters of electronics, and how has this shifted over the last two decades?
|Rank||Country||Share of Total 2021||Share of Total 2000|
|3||🇰🇷 South Korea||7%||5%|
|7||🇺🇸 United States||4%||16%|
We can see in the above table how global electronics trade has become more concentrated in Asia, specifically China and Taiwan. As an electronics powerhouse, 34% of the world’s electronic goods in 2021 came from China, representing $1.4 trillion in value.
Home to leading firms like TSMC, Taiwan also plays a major role due to its prowess in semiconductor manufacturing—highlighting the island’s global importance.
But not all of Asia has been thriving. In 2000, Japan was a global electronics powerhouse responsible for 13% of the industry’s exports, but has seen its share shrink to 4% in 2021. The U.S. has also sheen its electronics lead shrink, with exports down from 16% of the global total in 2000 to just 4% in 2021.
Several factors have driven this shift. Instead of manufacturing electronics domestically, the U.S. has outsourced technology to countries where manufacturing, production, and labor costs are lower. However, recently, the U.S. is focusing on reshoring semiconductor production specifically given its role in national security, as seen through the $52.7 billion CHIPS Act.
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