SAN FRANCISCO: Overall app usage grew by 76% in 2014, but consumer sessions with lifestyle and shopping apps grew a massive 174% year-on-year, according to new analysis.

Flurry Analytics, the Yahoo-owned research firm, tracked 2.079 trillion app sessions over the course of last year and found the shopping category increased by 220% on Android alone.

Triple-digit growth for the categories of utilities and productivity (121%) as well as messaging (103%) meant "2014 was the year apps got down to serious business", the report said.

All nine categories under examination recorded growth, but significantly, growth in the games category slowed to 30% while music, media and entertainment recorded growth of just 33%.

But the growth of consumer sessions in shopping apps was the standout finding in the report, leading Flurry to state that "if 2013 was the year messaging apps took off, 2014 was the year retail came to mobile in a big way".

Simon Khalaf, Yahoo's vice president of Flurry Products, went on to tell Luxury Daily that "this stunning growth of the use of shopping apps this year is an opportunity for retailers and brands to stay more connected with their consumers and engage them during shopping".

"Also, mobile allows the retailers to capitalise on the impulse buying aspect of consumers in a way that ecommerce never could," he added.

Of particular note for retailers, Flurry then took a deeper dive into how US consumers engaged with their shopping apps and discovered that shopping app usage spiked during the morning commute time of 9am and lunchtime at noon.

Shopping apps also spiked about 8pm when consumers had returned home, while some users continued shopping into the early hours of the morning.

"These new behaviour patterns present great opportunities and challenges for retailers," the report advised.

Data sourced from Flurry Analytics, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff