China Leads World in iOS & Android Activations, App Usage

China now ranks second in the world in “smart device” (iOS and Android) application sessions, trailing only the United States, according to research conducted last month by Flurry Analytics.

For the study, Flurry used “application sessions,” the launch and use of an application, as the metric. To qualify, a user must have launched the application and spent at least two minutes inside the application before closing it.

Under this metric, China’s huge population and rapidly growing middle class contributed to a staggering rise of 1,126 percent between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of this year, double the growth of any other nation and taking the manufacturing country from tenth to second in app sessions over that period.

Smart Device App Usage Growth

Further demonstrating its tremendous growth in smart devices, China in February 2012 surpassed the United States for the first time to become the largest activator of iOS and Android devices, with 23 percent of worldwide activations. By March, that number grew to 24 percent while the United States fell to 21 percent, a huge feat considering that just over a year ago, in January 2011, the U.S. held 28 percent of activations compared to China’s 8 percent. Now, both nations together activate approximately 45 percent of all new smart devices worldwide.

Smart Device Activations Q1 2012

These results unsurprisingly work together to make China both the fastest growing smart device market as well as the fastest growing user of applications. While the United States still holds a nearly two-to-one lead in smart device installed base, the numbers above indicate that China will likely catch, and then surpass, the U.S. soon.