Digital Marketing Marketing & Branding

Mobile Apps – Dead in the Water

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Mobile Apps are a dominant factor in people’s lives. But apparently only a select few. It seems that people are averse to downloading and trying out new apps.

Media analytics firm comScore recently released its annual Mobile Apps Report which states that –

A majority (51%) of all smartphone users report downloading a grand total of zero new apps per month.

That’s right – don’t squint – you read it correctly – ZERO.

:O

We have known for a few years now that it is hard for new apps to attain a permanent space on the user’s mobile phones, as the popular & often used apps are hard to replace. In fact, Facebook and google account for the two most-used apps out of the top 10 most popular mobile apps.

Don’t get me wrong. Apps are great. They create new standards of consumer experience through their rich and interactive interface. Which means more and more sites are now developing a mobile first approach (which is great) and are also offering mobile apps with rich functionality (which is not so great: read ahead to find out why).

Have you heard what David Murphy Founder and Editor of Mobile Marketing Daily said?

The future of mobile is the future of online. It is how people access online content now.

Mobile Apps Usage

Usage of Mobile Apps is increasing.

As per the latest from ComScore’s 2017 U.S. Mobile Apps Report, the average consumer spends 57% of digital media time on Mobile. It is interesting to note that 88% of the mobile time and 50% of the overall digital time is spent on Mobile Apps.

SHARE OF DIGITAL MEDIA TIME SPENT, MOBILE APP SHARE AT 50%
SHARE OF DIGITAL MEDIA TIME SPENT, MOBILE APP SHARE AT 50%

Desktop & Website Usage

Desktop usage is 34% of digital media time. What is interesting to note here is that total web site usage time is 43%. Both Mobile and tablets users connect to the internet through the website on these devices.

What is in for a Small Business Owner

Two years back when I started my marketing technology venture all the start up founders were obsessed with a mobile Apps. No matter what was the Business Idea, the mobile app was critical to their digital marketing strategy.

Mobile apps used to be criteria for securing funding. In fact, it used to be a milestone. The modus-operandi used to be:

  • Launch a mobile app
  • Ensure millions of Downloads
  • and you will be floating in money

Well, it happened for a few startups, but not for the most.

As per comScore report, though Americans are spending a lot of time on Mobile Apps, most of them are NOT downloading any new apps.

NUMBER OF MOBILE APPS DOWNLOADED BY SMARTPHONE USERS IN US
NUMBER OF MOBILE APPS DOWNLOADED BY SMARTPHONE USERS IN US

Most (51%) of Americans have not downloaded any mobile apps, and their number is increasing (49% in June 2016). Lesser than 32% of users have downloaded less than 3 Apps a month.

Facebook and Google Rule the Mobile app usage. Most of the Apps in top 10 are old Apps with the exclusion of Snapchat.

TOP 10 MOBILE APPS BY PENETRATION
TOP 10 MOBILE APPS BY PENETRATION

Majority of App users access less than 20 apps a month.

You will be surprised to know that the number one mobile app (namely – facebook) takes away almost 50% of their app usage time.

On top of it, top 10 apps account for nearly all the time they spend in apps.

COSTRIBUTION OF NUMBER OF MOBILE APPS TO TOTAL APP USAGE TIME
CONTRIBUTION OF NUMBER OF MOBILE APPS TO TOTAL APP USAGE TIME

That leaves very little room for newcomers.

You will be surprised to know that even Apps like Snapchat are finding traction among youngsters. Mostly only young people.

TOP 10 MOBILE APPS BY AGE GROUP
TOP 10 MOBILE APPS BY AGE GROUP

So what is the Bottom-Line

It seems we might have reached a “saturation point” for mobile apps.

It is going to be very difficult to break into the league of mobile apps a user wants to have or use.

This is the reason, why new mobile apps have been struggling to find success for several years now.

Therefore, if you are starting off unless you are targeting millennial’s, it does not make sense to invest in a mobile app early on.Save

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Branding & Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of BrandLoom Consulting (A $1m startup). Help companies generate more revenue through digital marketing and branding. Growth Driver of Large Global Companies and Successful Startups. Built Sustainable & Profitable Businesses for over 100 Brands during 18 years long global career. Speaker at CII, CITI, ASSOCHAM and several prominent Industry Forums. Covered by TOI, ET, The Hindu, Silicon India, The CEO and many publications.

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