App Bubble May Finally Be Bursting

Nov 20, 2017  |  By Peter Billias  |  

The number of apps available in the digital marketplace are seemingly endless, with more than 2.8 million in existence. Yet surprisingly, the majority of users simply aren’t downloading anymore. The 2017 U.S. Mobile Apps Report released by comScore earlier this year found that 51% of smartphone users are averaging zero app installs per month.  A trend of declining new app installs has been observed in previous mobile apps reports, but now it’s approaching rock bottom.

Additionally, app discovery has declined across nearly every channel.  Users aren’t searching for or talking about new applications as much as they have in recent years.  They have downloaded what they need, and are complacent with their current tools. In fact, 95% of a smartphone user’s app time is spent in their Top 10. These findings may make companies with a pending launch nauseous, but there is still value to be had in developing an app.

50% of all digital media time is spent within a smartphone app, with the average user spending an average of 2.3 hours per day engaged.  While average new app downloads are at a staggering low, their prevalence in a user’s day-to-day keeps them relevant. When proceeding with app development initiatives, consider these insights:


Reach Millennials.

Shocking, we know.  While this may have been the most obvious consideration, a rather interesting statistic measured 70% of Millennials confirming that they are “always looking for new and interesting apps.”  That percentage is nearly double the attitude shared adults aged 35-54. Furthermore, 57% of Millennials confirm that they “download new apps more often than deleting/uninstalling old ones.” With Millennials being so open to the idea of new apps infiltrating, reaching this audience is critical.


Reach Teens.

Perhaps even more tantalizing for big tech than reaching Millennials, is catching the attention of teens. With so much of tech’s sustainable valuation riding on its ability to engage young users, teens can be cause for major moves in the application market. Facebook recently acquired a hot startup app called ‘tbh’ due to a 9 week period of explosive growth among American teens. This development shows that while adoption of new apps is near the lowest it’s ever been, those unicorn apps are still out there.


Promote The App Via Digital Media.

Discussions with friends or family, and content appearing on social networking sites account for a combined 25% of new app discovery. It would be in your best interest to advertise on social media and streaming audio apps, which are the most efficient vehicles to reach smartphone users and encourage them to start a conversation surrounding the newest apps.  More specifically, advertise on Facebook. It is the app that the highest percentage of smartphone users “cannot go without.


Logos Matter.

Designing an attractive logo is crucial to keeping your app installed on Millennial devices. 21% of these users have deleted apps because they didn’t like how it appeared on their home screen. Can you afford to lose a fifth of your Millennial installs because of a funky logo?  Our guess is a resounding “No.”


Push Notifications.

They are back!  The percentage of smartphone users that agree to an app’s request to allow push notifications rose to 43%, a 16-point increase from the previously declining year.  Today’s user wants to stay connected.  Similar to the logos, producing high-quality push notifications is an important factor in keeping your app downloaded.


The younger generations are highly engaged with technology, savvy with its functionality, and account for the most downloads of new apps across all age groups.  While the lack of app downloads may be frightening for those entering the marketplace, it should not derail all efforts to launch.  Rather, take the statistics we’ve highlighted in this article and use them to reassess the time and resources it would cost you now to proceed with development.  It may make sense to scale back or delay the project, and focus efforts towards another part of your business. Although it may not be the right time to launch an app, not doing so could come at the future expense of falling behind your competitors.

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