With over 1 million apps in Apple’s App Store and over 700,000 in the Google Play marketplace, it sure seems as though smartphone users love using apps. In June, Apple announced that 30 billion apps have been downloaded since the launch of the first iPhone. That’s a lot of apps, which appears to indicate that people love using apps on their phones. Looking at these stats from a different perspective, however, can lead to different conclusions. Yes, consumers are downloading billions of apps, but it is also important ask how many of these apps are smartphone users actually using?
As a fun little exercise, take a look at your smartphone and see which apps you actually use on a regular basis. I currently have 93 downloaded apps on my HTC Amaze 4G, of which I use about 15 regularly (meaning at least three times per week). That’s 78 apps that I’ve used a couple times, once, or in some cases, never even opened after installing. Now obviously this is not the case for every smartphone user, but some stats indicate similar trends for other consumers. Consider the following graph from Localytics from June of this year:
The findings indicate a similar trend among other consumers, where apps appear to predominantly be used regularly or only once, with very little in between.
With the recent launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft’s pursuit of the smartphone and tablet markets, many are quick to fret over their marketplace’s lack of apps. With only 120,000 apps, Microsoft’s app selection is nowhere near the size of Google and Apple’s. This is certain to get better as Microsoft has more time to acquire developers and customers, but the question remains: do people really care about apps? To some, the lack of app selection means it is not worthwhile to be an early adopter of Microsoft’s offerings in the mobile space. To others, however, this is a non-issue.
Though tablets and smartphones are capable of so much, let’s not forget that many consumers use these devices for very simple purposes. These individuals may perhaps download a couple of apps but use their phones primarily to make calls, send text messages and check email, while using their tablets to watch videos, read books and check the web. To these types of consumers, the apps that come pre-installed on their devices and browser-based services are sufficient for their purposes.
Do You Really Need Apps?
In another blog post, Aaliyah Madadi discussed the differences between native apps and web apps. She argued how HTML5 allows developers to create engaging and ‘app-like’ experiences within a web browser, decreasing the need for content creators to develop native apps for consumers to install on their devices. In addition to simplifying the process of app development, web-based apps allow developers to reach their audiences directly without the need to pay any app store fees. While this makes sense for developers, does it make sense to you as a consumer? How many apps do you actually use? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Uberflip!