This might be a bad time if you’re a fledgling app developer trying to score a mainstream hit. At least, that’s the suggestion from numbers just released by comScore.
According to the Internet analytics firm’s “The U.S. Mobile App Report,” people primarily view digital media using apps on their smartphones. And yet, most download no apps on a monthly basis.
The takeaway seems pretty bleak: Users already have their favorite apps. They’re using them to channel in tons of video, music and other media. And they’re not really looking for new ones.
We Love Apps, But We Hate Downloading Them
ComScore’s report offers numerous data points, many of which aren’t all that surprising. Shockers include the fact that people tend to enjoy digital media on their phones (88%) more often than tablets (82%). More than half of smartphone users also use their apps every day, at 57%.
But the firm also reveals that mobile applications account for 52% of the time spent listening or looking at digital media. (Add mobile Web browsers to the mix, and the number goes up to 60%.) That actually squares with its other finding—that Facebook is the most used app—as the social network channels a huge volume of shared videos, photos and articles.
And yet, with all that activity, few users are grabbing new apps. More than one-third of smartphone users may be downloading one or more applications per month, but nearly two-thirds, at 65.5%, download none.
The reason probably isn’t the expense. Most apps are either free or cost just a buck. Maybe it’s just natural. After several frenzied years, mobile app development has simply matured to the point that people’s biggest needs—like streaming, socializing or sharing ice bucket clips—are already well tended to.
Are People Suffering From App Fatigue?
The other possibility is that users are tired of battling app fatigue. This can come from the constant management of mobile applications—from corralling tons of icons on a homescreen to adjusting app data to preserve phone storage—not to mention vetting apps, amid nerve-jangling headlines about sketchy privacy policies or security vulnerabilities.
Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, people don’t seem too interested in experimenting with new options—which could spell bad news for any app developers hoping to become a breakout hit in Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
Of course, stores don’t make it easy sometimes. Quartz noted, rightly so, that iPhone app discovery in the App Store is a clustered mess.
In other words, unless you’re a priority business partner or already a major brand name, good luck getting noticed in there.
Lead photo by Cristiano Betta