Appy Days: the soaring popularity of digital services
12th Mar 2018
This is an amazing time to be alive. With a few swipes and clicks we can instantly summon a ride home, order our favourite food, or book a stay in a stunning home-from-home. And we can rate our experiences more easily than ever before too. That’s mainly thanks to the internet startups-come-global giants that have disrupted their industries to give us access to these services through our smartphones.
It’s estimated that five million people in the UK (that’s just over 15% of the working population) now work for the app-based services that we use to book holiday accommodation, ferry us from A to B and deliver our food. It’s become known as the ‘sharing economy’ and many experts are predicting it will keep growing as more people take second jobs to earn extra cash. And, with smartphone usage on the rise, we’ll be using the apps themselves even more frequently.
We’ve delved into our transaction data to shine a light on the soaring popularity of app-based services. Along the way, we’ve uncovered some fascinating insights about how we use them across different regions, age groups and genders.
Generally, the majority of transactions for these services take place in London, but the capital’s share of the UK’s total spending is on the way down – as early adopters get their teeth into services springing up across the rest of the UK.
Focusing on the travel, transport and food delivery industries, here’s what our data tells us about the wider landscape of app-based services in 2018.
A tech travel-ution
Booking a holiday used to begin with you sitting down with a travel agent armed with a well-thumbed guidebook and tips from trusted friends and relatives. Few could have foreseen the level of convenience we’re offered today – with 80% of people booking their holidays online. That’s partly down to app-based travel services making it easier than ever to plan a trip by allowing homeowners to advertise their pads for short-term rent.
The number of transactions made with three of the most popular app-based travel services grew by 46% between 2016 and 2017.
Our data also reveals some intriguing gender and age group breakdowns. Proportionally, women are taking up app-based travel services at a faster rate than men, with a higher proportion of spending coming from the over 60s, which is surprising considering mobile technology is generally more popular among younger generations.
Lifting the lid on taxi apps
App-based taxi services have become the most recognised alternative to the traditional taxi. Once we’ve downloaded a ride-hailing app, we can request a journey with drivers using their personal vehicles. And usually we don’t have to pay anything in person – because it’s all synced up to our credit cards.
Our data shows that the past 12 months have been a golden era for app-based taxi services. From 2016 to 2017 there was a growth of 41% in the number of transactions for app-based taxi services.
When it comes to age, app-based taxi services are most popular among the under 30s, followed by 30-45 year olds.
In terms of the gender split, men generally splash out more on app-based taxi services, however, the gender gap has narrowed from a 90/10 split in 2012 to 70/30 in 2017 – suggesting that ride-hailing apps are gaining appeal among women.
Bringing home the bacon (cheeseburgers)
App-based food delivery services have quickly built a presence across the UK and Europe. If you live in a town or city you’re likely to have seen one of their riders whizz past with large boxes strapped to their backs, delivering takeaways or even restaurant meals to hungry customers’ homes.
There’s no doubting the fact that these app-based food delivery services are king-sized success stories. The volume of all transactions grew 51% between 2016 and 2017.
They’ve also enjoyed a huge uptake across UK regions – particularly in North East Scotland, South Wales and North West England.
The leading food delivery app is most popular among the under 30s. However, our figures suggest it is beginning to appeal to an older demographic, with popularity of the app increasing for the 45 to 60 age range.
Our transaction data also shows that a higher proportion of men use the app than women, but this trend began to even out between 2016 and 2017.
App-based services will continue appealing to workers and consumers as they expand deeper into every corner of the UK – particularly as more than 41 million people in the UK now have access to a smartphone. We’ll no doubt be clicking and swiping our way to rides home, food deliveries and great holiday pads for many more years to come.