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Mobile apps reflect trends, changing lifestyles

From baby care to homemaking, apps cater to needs of today’s generation

From home interior design to baby care, mobile apps cater to users’ interests and lend a hand in their daily lives. After all, an average of three hours is spent on mobile apps daily, according to global app intelligence platform App Annie.

During a press event Wednesday at Google Campus Seoul, Google Play introduced four app developers catering to the lifestyles of millennials: Bucket Place, Simfler, Culture Hero and Home Story.
From left: App developers Lee Seung-jae of Bucket Place, Yang Duck-yong of Simfler, Yang Joon-kyu of Culture Hero and Lee Bong-jae of Home Story speak during a press conference held Wednesday at Google Campus Seoul. (Google Play)
From left: App developers Lee Seung-jae of Bucket Place, Yang Duck-yong of Simfler, Yang Joon-kyu of Culture Hero and Lee Bong-jae of Home Story speak during a press conference held Wednesday at Google Campus Seoul. (Google Play)

Bucket Place runs Today House, an app on interior design through which users share photos of well-decorated homes. Going beyond just compiling photos, the app also links products in the photos to e-commerce.

“My personal experiences made this app. While refurnishing my house, I experienced the interior design process myself and realized that home decorating is so difficult,” said Lee Seung-jae, the founder of Bucket Place.

“Vising Ikea abroad, I was greatly surprised. Interior design was previously a process of selecting furniture at offline shops for me. But Ikea introduces home designs, enabling consumers to really experience the designs,” he added.

Uploaded on the Google Play Store in 2014, the Today House app has been downloaded around 4 million times. Although the app initially targeted newlyweds, the target group has expanded to single-person households.

“For millennials, home is not just a place to sleep, but a place to live,” Lee said. “For fashion, you can always see how others are dressed. But for homes, if you do not visit others’ places, you cannot learn from them.”

Another popular app, Baby Time, was also inspired by personal experiences.

Yang Duck-yong, the founder and CEO of Simfler, developed Baby Time after his wife had a baby. The tech-savvy husband developed the app upon seeing his wife writing details about their baby on a notepad.

Baby Time allows parents to write down details about their child, from height to weight to the condition of urine and stools. It also offers detailed analysis about the growth of the baby.

The app is used by 100,000 people a day -- a high figure considering a total of 300,000 babies were born last year.

“The app is used mostly by mothers who have given birth, of course. But reflecting the change in family culture, we added a co-nurturing function allowing a mother and a father to share data. The proportion of fathers using the app has grown from 7 to 20 percent,” Yang said.

Culture Hero’s Yang Joon-gyu is another developer who created an app based on his own lifestyle.

Working in the social media realm, he shared photos of his wife’s cooking on social media, creating a buzz. He later created Wife’s Cuisine, an app for sharing recipes.

“Now there are a lot of content on food and cooking, but some of them are not good (recipes). The recipes on the app are tried out first by professionals, guaranteeing accuracy and taste,” Yang said.

Linked to e-commerce, Wife’s Cuisine offers kitchenware and dining products for sale, too, allowing users to come up with table settings that please the palate and the eyes.

“Thanks to Hallyu, around 50 percent of subscribers on our YouTube channel are foreigners. We are preparing to launch an English service, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, app developer Home Story runs the home-service app Daerijubu, which means substitute homemaker in Korean. The smartphone-based home-service booking platform provides a wide range of services related to household chores, from home keeping to babysitting.

Lee Bong-jae, vice president of Home Story, said, “Household chores have long been an obstacle that blocks women from working outside the home. The app allows women of the millennial generation to focus on themselves while offering work to middle-aged women.”

Lee said reviews are important because home service is all about trust. The app provides detailed reviews on home-service providers, who are called home managers, while regularly training them through offline sessions.

“The matching success rate on the app has increased from 15 to 55 percent compared to the beginning, and 85 percent of regular service users reuse the service,” Lee said. “More than 80 percent of our clients are double-income families and single-person households.”

By Im Eun-byel (