Finance Apps Shine on Wearables

  • Philip Ryan
  • January 21, 2016
  • 1

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / TpaBMaWhere are mobile financial services most popular? Try your wrist.

Finance apps proved to be among the most popular on wearable devices, according to App Annie’s 2015 Retrospective report. On smartphones and tablets, finance apps didn’t make the Top 10. There was one market, however, that proved an exception: China.

In China, Alipay was the fourth most downloaded app on iOS, and ranked fourth in monthly users on the iPhone. No other pure-play financial services app ranked in the Top 10 in any market App Annie surveyed, namely Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S.

App Annie also ranked apps in a Worldwide category, but no financial app made the Top 10 there either, including Alipay.

On the Apple Watch, which is the only wearable App Annie specifically analyzed in this report, financial services are equal in quantity to apps in categories such as travel, productivity, and lifestyle. Here’s the breakdown of app categories by percentages:

  • Games – 12%
  • Utilities – 12%
  • Health & Fitness – 7%
  • Entertainment – 7%
  • Lifestyle – 6%
  • Productivity – 6%
  • Travel – 6%
  • Finance – 6%
  • All Others – 38%

It should be noted that these numbers do not refer to downloads or monthly average users, but simply Apple Watch apps in existence, of which there are more than 14,000, according to App Annie.

Still, it is significant that financial services apps form such a significant part of the Apple Watch ecosystem. Wearables, after all, are one step closer to the Internet of Things, which will require new standards for authentication in order to facilitate payments. The Samsung refrigerator, with its MasterCard Masterpass integration, is but the first of what may be many payment-enabled devices in the IoT.

App Annie does not yet analyze the IoT beyond Apple TV. But 2016 should prove to be a seminal year for apps and payments in the Internet of Things. This may show that for many devices, payments and financial services are a more fundamental and important activity than playing Candy Crush.

Get more innovation insights at Bank Innovation 2016, Feb 29-Mar 1 in Seattle. Click here for details.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at

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