WEB & TECH / AUG. 29, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Most Mobile Phone Users Download Zero Apps per Month

In an increasingly digital age, that title may be difficult to believe. How can mobile phone users not download any apps in one month? Well, according to the recent study done by comScore, it’s fairly common and not entirely surprising.

The amount of time spent with apps in the digital media arena is now 52 percent, up from 40 percent in 2013. Apple bragged in June that it had reached 75 billion App Store downloads and then boasted in July that the company had the best month ever in terms of revenue.

 

 

Image courtesy of comScore.

 

But, according to this recent data, mobile phone users aren’t downloading much of anything in a typical month. Only a third of mobile phone users download apps in the average month, and when they do, it’s a minimal one to three apps. In fact, the average person downloads so little in a month that nearly half of all download activity in any given month come from the top 7 percent of smartphone users.

While some may think that this data reveals a lot of useless apps (or expensive apps) on the App Store, comScore doesn’t believe that this is the case. In actuality, it’s because one app can be incredibly useful it performs many different functions and fills many different needs; thus, users don’t need to download more than one app for any given activity. Instead, they can rely on having their data all in one convenient app.

To back this up, comScore also noted that 42 percent of all app time for mobile users is spent in one single app; presumably the user’s favourite. Though there aren’t many downloads per month, almost all mobile phone users have downloaded apps in the past.

comScore also notes that part of the reason for lower download numbers could be Apple’s App Store. The company has come under criticism recently for its outdated storefront, which doesn’t really have a convenient way to discover new apps. Instead, users have to rely on top-25 lists and bad searches in order to find anything. It makes newer, smaller apps much more difficult to find. Though Apple has definitely led the way with its App Store, there’s always room for improvement.

A hint to small businesses looking to create apps: free apps tend to do better than paid apps. Even if you’re determined to make money off an app for your business, consider allowing users to try a free "lite" version before they make a purchase. Also, studies have shown that in-app purchases for games are generally frowned upon, and pretty soon, the Google Play store won’t allow apps with in-app purchases to be listed as free.

What about you? What is your favourite app? Do you often find yourself hunting for more functional apps on the App Store and Google Play Store? What are some key functions you’d love to see every app have? What kind of app is the tech space lacking that it desperately needs?

Creative Commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by Robert S. Donovan. [302 from http://flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/8640780133]

 

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