Mobile apps in the Nordics - statistics & facts

Mobile applications, or simply mobile apps, are software applications designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or wearables. Being among the most modern regions and having undergone a thorough digitalization process, the Nordics have seen a rise in mobile app popularity in recent years. According to a May 2021 survey of users in the Nordic countries, despite age playing a significant role in users' opinions on data tracking preferences, between 33 and 42 percent of respondents viewed the option of allowing trackers on their favorite apps or websites positively. Both functional and entertaining apps are featured among users’ favorites: DanskeBank payment app MobilePay and leading social media app Facebook were regarded as the most important apps by equally large audiences of users in Denmark. Similarly, 30 percent of Swedish users saw in the mobile identification and payment system BankID the most important app for them, followed by Swish, Instagram, and Facebook with 16 percent of respondents indicating each of these apps as paramount.

Mobile social media: TikTok raise and Meta stronghold

Social networking, as well as apps that allow users to communicate via instant chat or calls, were among the most used mobile services in the Nordics. As of the third quarter of 2020, social media apps had a reach of more than 90 percent in Sweden and approximately 93 percent in Denmark. By comparison, according to a 2021 survey of users in Finland, internet browsers and apps to access e-mail services were the most popular apps for users in the country, with 76 percent and 75 percent of respondents reporting to use apps in this category regularly.

In 2021, Facebook users in the Nordics were particularly consistent in visiting the platform from their mobile devices: Norway saw 98 percent of Facebook users in the country accessing the social media from their portable devices, while Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland reported between 97 percent and 97.5 percent of their Facebook audiences accessing the platform from mobile. While mobile-first social video app TikTok appeared to be not as popular as traditional social media platforms, its digital audience in the Nordics appeared to grow during the global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. During the outbreak, the share of TikTok users in Norway grew from seven percent to 10 percent, while in Denmark the app’s user bases grew from one percent to four percent. As of mid-2021, TikTok was also among the most downloaded social app in Sweden, generating 81 thousand downloads from Android users and 34 thousand downloads from iPhone users in the month of July alone.

Payment apps: a functional trend

Mobile apps have increasingly become a more accepted payment method for consumers in Nordic countries. Thanks to the launching of official payment and identification mobile apps by recognized institutions like Danske Bank in Denmark and Finland, as well as DNB bank in Norway, usage of payment apps has seen healthy growth in recent years. The app Swish was launched in a joint operation by six Swedish large banks, saw customers in Sweden making an average of seven transactions in March 2021. In Denmark, MobilePay had an average usage of 96 percent among customers aged between 16 and 59 years old, while reaching 100 percent usage among consumers between 20 and 29 years old.

Meet the (mobile) gamers

According to a May 2021 survey of users in the Nordic countries, 34 percent of respondents aged between 40 and 49 years old were engaging with mobile gaming apps at least once a day, while daily mobile gaming was common among 29 percent of users aged 18 to 29 years old. Users in this demographic also reported being more inclined than others to spend 100 Swedish kronor or the corresponding amount in their currency (approximately 11 U.S. dollars) on in-app content, such as bonus lives, upgrades, and virtual goods for their characters.


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