Are smartphones reaching a saturation point? New research indicates that the number of downloaded apps is dropping- because they are getting too good.
The study, from Deliotte, found that nearly a third of UK smartphone owners are not bothering to try a single piece of new software during a typical month.
The results raise concern for developers of mobile apps that the waning appetite for software will harm future programme creation.
According to the research, only around 10% of smartphone users buy apps or other content regularly.
Some 31% of global smartphone users do not download apps, a rise from around 20% at the same point last year.
Meanwhile, the average number of apps downloaded has fallen from 2.3 to 1.8 in the same period.
Deloitte’s results actually point to an increase in smartphone use amongst the over-50 population — people who just want to be able to call and text, and are not interested in apps.
The report acknowledge that once people download their preferred set of apps, they’re less likely to opt in for new ones.
“The more friends you have on one network, the less likely you are to move,” Deloitte’s Paul Lee is quoted as saying, “so inertia sets in and it becomes increasingly hard for a new player to come and dislodge the other player.”
The maker of the popular mobile game Candy Crush has already learned about an apparent waning of consumer interest, seeing revenue drop by 8% in just three months.
“The UK is a good laboratory for exploring the future of digital marketing. The web was created by a British scientist, the first big online media businesses outside the US were born here and the marketing industry invests the most in digital per capita”, explains Danny Meadows-Klue, CEO of the Digital Strategy Consulting group and cofounder of the IAB internet marketing trade association.
“What we’ve seen in mobile during the last 24 months is movement to a post-app world in the technically developed markets as social media take the lead on delivering the content brands and publishers had been betting that apps would. Brilliant apps still get cut through, and with Facebooks aggressive monetisation plan most brands have lost 95% of their social audiences, but the migration from apps is a common part of the Northern European digital landscape.”