The rise of the ‘Appy Family’ in Technology Britain

More than 1/3 of British parents[1] now see apps as integral to family life

New research out today from Disney UK reveals that in just four years since the first app was downloaded, Britain has become a nation of ‘Appy Families.  75% of parents with app-enabled devices share them with their kids and more than one third of parents already consider apps to be an ‘integral part’ of family life.
Disney surveyed 2,000 UK parents who own an app enabled device and found that despite the wealth of free apps, 49% of parents are ‘appy to spend money on apps each month. Even with the tough economic environment, the research shows two in five parents spend up to £10 each month, which means UK families could be spending as much as an estimated £132 million a year. 
The findings also reveal that more than half of parents questioned have downloaded an app at the request of their child (or children).  Once downloaded, it’s the kids who instantly understand the technology and functionality, with 56% of parents having had their child teach them, or another family member, what to do. There is no age gap to getting ‘appy either with 38% of children having shown their grandparents how to use apps. 
It’s not just the older kids getting ‘appy, with almost half of parents, who have one child aged five or under, saying their little one uses at least one app-enabled device.  31% say their young child has taught another family member how to use an app, particularly a grandparent (62%). 
It seems for parents, apps are about more than just retail ther-appy with 29% of parents questioned admitting to using an app download as a treat for their children. For some parents, these downloads are used to reward good behaviour (17%), for others, playing apps together is a means of creating quality time with their family (16%). The appy family looks set to continue, with 50% of parents saying that if they could design an app, they would want one they can play with the whole family.  
The findings also show that appy families are more likely to download games (86%) than entertainment (53%) or music (48%) apps and, surprisingly, despite being created specifically for mobile devices, children play apps most often in the home (76% of respondents).
“Disney has been creating entertainment experiences to make kids and parents ‘appy for more than 80 years but in just four years, apps have revolutionised the way they can interact with our stories and characters. Swampy, the star of Disney’s ‘Where’s my Water?’ app, hit the top of the download charts in more than 80 countries showing the incredible potential for family entertainment on mobile,” stated Paul Brown, General Manager of Disney’s interactive media business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, “This research shows that families are choosing apps as a way to engage in immersive entertainment and we will continue to create and expand our range of mobile storybooks, games and comics to meet this growing demand from families.”
Disney’s wide range of apps feature much loved characters including ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘Phineas and Ferb’ and the cast of ‘Toy Story 3’ as well as introducing brand new Disney characters such as Swampy from ‘Where’s My Water’.   With fun, immersive games such as ‘Where’s My Perry?’ and ‘Temple Run: Brave’, music based games such as ‘Tap Tap Revenge’ and book apps such as the recently released ‘The Amazing Spider-man Augmented Reality HD Story Book, ’Peter Pan: Disney Classics’ and the  ‘Brave Interactive Comic,’ there’s something to keep the whole family ‘appy.
The speed and extent to which apps have become part everyday life for millions is staggering.  In the UK alone there are around 25.4 million users of app-enabled devices[2]  and in March 2012, the 25 billionth app was downloaded from Apple’s App Store. There are currently over 500,000 apps on the App Store[3]  and the term app was named 2010’s ‘Word of the Year’ by the American Dialect Society. 

Key stats:

  • More than half of UK parents have downloaded an app at the request of their child (or children)
  • 56% of parents have had their child teach them, or another family member, what to do
  • Under-fives are also using apps (45%), with 31% of parents saying their very little one has also taught another family member how to use an app – particularly a grandparent (62%)
  • 55% of UK Adults would like to design an app to “keep kids entertained on long journeys” followed by “games to play with the whole family” (50%)
  • 25% of UK adults with app-enabled devices would like to design an app that answers the question of ‘are we nearly there yet?’
  • 49% of parents are happy to spend money on apps each month
  • 16% use apps to share quality time with their children and 17% use apps to reward their children for good behaviour

1] Research is based on 2,000 respondents, based in the UK, who own app enabled devices and have children under 18 years of age
2 3 months average ending December 2011, Comscore, MobiLens