Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

A Third Of Smartphone Users Don’t Download Apps

It wasn’t even a concern for Apple when designing the initial iPhone, but mobile applications can make or break a handset – or even an entire OS. If current research is to be believed, the demand for downloading applications is decreasing – even as the smartphone market continues to explode.

New research carried out by Deloitte has shown that the average number of apps downloaded per user is declining. Not only that, but it’s down by a huge amount. The study shows that nearly a third of all smartphone users in the UK do not download any apps to their smartphones in a given month. For those who do download apps, the average number has declined from 2.32 to 1.82. As well, the study showed that only 1 in 9 users ever pay for an app for their phone.


Does this mean that the application market is imploding as the headlines would have you believe? Hardly.

The number of smartphone apps that come included with various operating systems and custom interfaces is continually increasing. Most Android handsets come complete with a whole suite of media consumption apps, not to mention social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. Users vary rarely use the supplied apps by Samsung and other manufacturers, so why would the basic users need to download anything else?

Ageing Users

Even Deloitte themselves have attempted to shed a little light on the finding by breaking it down to age groups. An increasing number of smartphone users over the age of 50 has a decreased demand for applications, which means they are generally happy with those included, or may download a few when first setting up the handset. However they are less likely to download any additions later in the phones life.

“The new adopters of smartphones use them mostly for text messaging. When you look at who uses IM (instant messaging) services like WhatsApp and WeChat, it tends to be younger age groups and it declines very steeply with age.” – Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte

Even younger users, once they have downloaded an additional suite of apps when they are first setting up the handset, will use only a handful – and rarely, if ever add to them.

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