MTN App of the Year

App store trends of note

According to Statista, the top 15 app store categories are gaming, business, education, lifestyle, utilities, entertainment, travel, food and drink, health and fitness, productivity, finance, shopping, books, music, and social networking. This is a trend reflected in the type of applications that led the way in the MTN App of the Year Awards with the majority of apps falling into one of these 15 categories.

Some surprises

Interestingly, FinTech applications that spanned insurance, investment, money management and financial education were the most common type of app to sit in the finalists, while lifestyle apps that focused on factors such as gardening, parenting and nature, came in second place. In third place, educational apps were very popular with some of the solutions really focusing on filling very relevant gaps in the South African market.

What was interesting was that shopping apps were the next most popular category with the apps split between the consumer and the business-to-business categories.


However, gaming, the category that tends to dominate on the market, doesn’t lead the way in the finalists at all with only two apps chosen from this category. It’s an interesting shift considering how popular gaming apps have become, particularly over the past year.

Research by App Annie found that mobile games could potentially rise to $120 billion in 2021 due to increased mobile adoption during the 2020 pandemic.

A “stratospheric” rise in app downloads

That said, app downloads and usage across multiple categories and use cases saw a stratospheric increase in 2020. App Annie’s research found that mobile app usage reached 200 billion hours in April 2020 – a 40% year-on-year increase in monthly hours spent on mobile apps. The average user spends nearly five hours a day on their mobile devices. All due to a rapid and unexpected shift in ways of working and living.

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The research also found that there was a trend towards business, health and fitness, education and entertainment apps – a trend reflected in the apps that have achieved recognition in the MTN App of the Year Awards with health, parenting, finance, gaming, business and lifestyle strongly represented.

The developers show a keen sense of market and an understanding of the kind of app that will appeal to both the local and global markets, a sense that will stand their solutions in good stead as app usage changes and adapts to the new world of work, and living.


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