Do We Have Time For Apps?
Image courtesy of James Howie via Flickr
Despite a 52% growth in mobile app usage last year, it turns out well over half of US smartphone users download no more than zero apps in a given month, and those that do only download one or two of them.
comScore’s findings in their 2014 US Mobile App Report might be troubling news for the app ecosystem — and mobile at large — if it didn’t make so much sense. As our habits on mobile devices begin to crystallize, a telling pattern is emerging: we treat apps like we treat, say, websites on the Internet. Only a handful of them merit our regular attention, and we need compelling reasons to visit or use any others (let alone pay for them). In fact, 42% of all smartphone app usage occurs on the user’s most-used app, according to the report.
It’s a well-known fact that better discovery mechanisms are missing from the app ecosystem. Outside of the app stores in iTunes and Google Play, environments where consumers can organically encounter — and see the utility of — apps they were previously unaware of are scare. I don’t know about you, but I don’t come across too many app recommendations in my Facebook or Twitter feeds, and when I do come across an notable app I’m unfamiliar with, it’s usually in the news.
What we are left with is a growing pile of neglected apps with little chance of being discovered or utilized. Until that equation changes, apps won’t be any easier to monetize.