Report: App Saturation Makes It Difficult For New Players To Break Through



Per comScore’s 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, 51 percent of consumers don’t download new apps on a monthly basis.


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There are more than 2 million apps in both the Google Play and Apple App Store, but new research proves that getting people to download new apps is an increasingly uphill battle.

According to comScore’s 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, though apps are responsible for 57 percent of all digital media usage to date, more than half of the consumers surveyed say they download zero new apps per month.

The big takeaway: While apps are occupying a lot of our attention in digital spaces, our time is being dominated by a handful of core apps that we use for utility (e.g. Uber or a banking app) or social networking and communication (e.g. Instagram or Twitter).

Here are some other takeaways from the report:

  • App usage is more concentrated among younger millennials (18 to 24) than older demographics. While the average percent of usage time across all demos was 57 percent, millennials said they spend two-thirds of their time with apps.
  • What does this equate to in hours? Consumers 18 to 24 said they spend a whopping three hours per day in apps, on average, while those 25 to 34 said they spend 2.6 hours. Consumers 35 to 44 said they spend 2.3 hours in apps. For context, another study found that single millennials watch 3.6 hours of TV per day on average.
  • A slight majority of respondents do not download any new apps in a given month. Of the 49 percent who do, 24 percent download one or two apps. A small sliver of power app-users, 5 percent, download 8 or more apps in a given month.
  • That said, consumers are open to trying out interesting apps—that is, if those apps can capture their attention. Seventy percent of millennials said they are “always looking for new and interesting apps.” Less than 40 percent of consumers 35 to 54 said the same.

Consumers, namely those 18 to 34, are open to trying out new apps, but the majority of them are not doing so on a monthly basis. So, what’s actually going on here? One consideration presented in the report was concerns over smartphone storage.

For the most part, however, the concerns are over mental bandwidth. In short, people prefer apps that fit into their daily routines, so once they find a group of apps that work for them (usually 20 or less), there simply isn’t room (or time) left for much else. As notes, the focus for brands who already have apps should, therefore, be to bolster app engagement, and then worry about acquiring new users.

You can check out the full report on comScore’s website.


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