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Nielsen data runs down app popularity by age, Facebook leads list

by Phil Hornshaw

No matter the age of the Android device user, chances are really good that his or her most-used app is Facebook.

That’s according to new data from Nielsen, the market research firm, which conducted a survey of “thousands” of Android users who have agreed to take part in the firm’s studies. In fact, among all three age groups – 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 – the most-used apps tended to be the same for the highest rankings. After the Android Market (obviously), the most-used app among all groups was Facebook. In the lower two age groups, Facebook was the most popular app among 80 percent of users. In the 35-44 group, it was around 75 percent.

The survey broke down how many Android users used a particular app during the last month, with the survey conducted in September. So that means that among the 18-24 age group and the 25-34 age group, 80 percent of users had accessed Facebook on their Android devices in the previous 30 days. The next few slots are the same among all three groups as well, although their specific ranks vary. But for all three, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search and YouTube were among the most-used apps on Android.

YouTube’s mobile app finds more popularity among 18-24-year-olds, notably, with 64 percent of users using it to watch Internet videos within the 30 days prior to the survey. Among the older age groups, it was a fair amount less – 56 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Pandora Radio falls off among the oldest Android users (just 20 percent compared to 30 percent among the youngest users and 28 among the middle range), but Angry Birds is more popular: 35 percent among the oldest crowd, 29 percent with the middle group and 22 percent with the youngest. It seems 18-24-year-olds prefer Words With Friends over Angry Birds, according to Nielsen.

The Amazon Appstore also had a fair ranking among all age groups, although the older the Android user, the more popular Amazon’s alternative to Google’s model became. Among 18-24-year-olds, Amazon’s Appstore was used among 14 during the previous month among 14 percent of users; it hit 22 percent among the 25-34 crowd; and got as high as 24 percent among the 35-44 crowd. Amazon routinely offers daily free apps on its app store, but it seems that gimmick might not be having such a big impact among Android users. Or they could be accessing the store more from their computers than their Android devices.

All the results suggest different priorities among different age groups, and preferences for different kinds of apps. But among all three groups, it’s clear that Google’s apps have the biggest impact, outside of Facebook, that is. No matter where any of us go, it seems we all want to be able to look at photos of our friends and family and update our statuses.