ASIA: The mobile app economy in Asia grew 77% last year, according to a new study which described this level of growth as "astounding" given it was starting from an already large base.

Flurry Analytics, the mobile analytics specialist, focused its attention on Asia where it tracks 610m monthly active devices and found that the surge in app sessions in the 12 months to April 2015 was being driven by three categories in particular.

Shopping & Lifestyle saw a 278% increase in session year on year, followed by News & Reading (+134%) and Utilities and Productivity (+89%). 

These are all consumer categories that provide a clue about the growing purchasing power and sophistication in the region, Chris Klotzbach, head of product marketing noted in a blog post.

Users in Asia have started to adapt their app usage for purposes beyond the traditional gaming and entertainment functions, he added. The Messaging & Social (+42%), Music, Media & Entertainment (+40%) and Games (+25%) categories were still growing, albeit at a much slower rate than before.

Games still led in one respect, however, as some 25% of mobile app time is spent in these activities. Shopping & Lifestyle was in second place (19%) followed by Utilities and Productivity (17%).

When Flurry carried out an analysis on engagement by gender, it found that Asia was unique, especially in the Photography, Lifestyle & Shopping, and Personalization categories.

While the majority of Asia's photography app users were women (81%), men were 1.9 times more likely to use photography apps than men in the rest of the world.

Women similarly dominated the Shopping & Lifestyle category in terms of use, but were also 1.4 times more likely to shop in mobile apps compared to women globally.

Finally, personalisation app users worldwide are heavily skewed towards men (81%) but this is not the case in Asia where usage is split more or less evenly (51% v 49%).

This means that women in Asia were 2.7 times likely than the global female average to use personalisation apps.

Data sourced from Flurry Analytics; additional content by Warc staff