What App-ened?! Xiaomi Leapfrogs Apple In Mobile App Usage

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi steps out of Apple’s shadow in a big way with a surprising first.

What App-ened?! Xiaomi Leapfrogs Apple In Mobile App Usage
Xiaomi Redmi smartphone, left, and Apple iPhone 5s

For over six years, Apple has dominated Android devices in the amount of time users spend in apps. But Xiaomi (often referred to as the “Apple of China”) has blown past the competition to claim the top spot. According to a study by mobile analytics firm , Xiaomi users spent 7% more time in apps than iPhone users. Samsung and HTC trailed Apple and Xiaomi further, with 14% and 27% less time spent than iPhone users, respectively.


However, considering Apple’s apparent ironclad dominance in the app market (their App Store topped $10 billion in sales in 2013, their most successful year to date), who does Xiaomi have using its apps, and how exactly are they spending their time?

Using data from Flurry’s study*, the profile of a typical Xiaomi user is a college student or young professional, with the age groups 18-24 and 25-34 over-indexing at 21% and 22%, respectively.

By a landslide, Xiaomi users prefer media and entertainment apps, spending 62% more time in this category than, say, social or gaming.

So is the golden Apple touch fading? Not quite. While Xiaomi is certainly having its moment in the smartphone industry, their success–and the findings in this study–are tied specifically to China…for now, that is. Citing BlackBerry’s dominance in email correspondence and Apple’s in music with iTunes, another Flurry study makes a valid point that Xiaomi has “claimed its stake in [Media and Entertainment apps] very strategically and successfully.” And given the company’s meteoric rise (selling close to 19 million phones and hitting $5.2 billion in revenue last year), who’s to say Xiaomi will stay tied to China forever?

* Flurry compared Xiaomi users with iOS and Android users combined.

About the author

KC works covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America" where he was the social media producer.