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Concerns raised for developers as interest in mobile apps dwindles

Report claims 31 percent of smartphone owners download no apps
Mon Aug 18 2014, 15:41

SMARTPHONE OWNERS are no longer so interested in mobile apps, a report has claimed, fuelling concerns among developers who are worried they have passed peak growth.

According to research out of Deloitte and reported by the Financial Times, 31 percent of smartphone owners do not download any apps in a typical month, with the average number of apps being downloaded on a monthly basis having fallen "significantly" in 2014. The mean number of apps downloaded has declined to just 1.82, from 2.32 last year.

While a third no longer bother visiting the iTunes App Store or Google Play, the report added that nine out of 10 punters say they "never" spend money on apps or other smartphone content, news that has raised concerns among developers. Despite this however, a report from App Annie last month claimed that "Freemium apps" - those that include hidden in-app purchases - are the biggest money-spinners for developers.

"We are reaching a limit in the UK in the volume of app store downloads," said Deloitte analyst Paul Lee. "Each additional new smartphone [owner] has less inclination to download apps, either out of apathy or, at a more global level, affordability.

"Ironically, the better that apps get the longer people will keep them, meaning people feel less inclined to look for new apps," Lee added.

Stuard Hall, the founder of Appbot, agreed with Lee, and said that this shift is because it is becoming harder to discover new apps, with stores becoming saturated with high-quality, popular applications.

"In the early days you had fewer people with phones but it was easier for apps to be discovered," Hall said, adding that the market has become "a lot tougher" for developers.

Deloitte also claimed that the decline can be credited to long-term smartphone owners, the number of which is growing, who already have their preferred selection of apps installed.

While consumers are seemingly losing interest in applications, the same can't be said for businesses, with enterprise app installs having grown 20 percent in the second quarter. µ


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