Report: Mobile Apps May Be Peaking

The latest comScore report, “The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report,” had me wondering if we had hit “peak-app.” Just how many apps can users crowd onto their smartphones and tablets? And while looking for such insights in the report, I learned quite a lot of other details useful for marketers. Did you now know that:

Deliver_Brand_In_Digital2-2(1)The latest comScore report on “The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report” had me wondering if we had hit “peak-app” — just how many apps can users crowd onto their smartphones and tablets?

And while looking for such insights in the report [downloadable here], I learned quite a lot of other details useful for marketers. Did you now know that:

  • Digital Love, Mobile Lust — Over the past three years, our total digital media time has grown by 53 percent, driven mostly by mobile apps. Our actual time spent on desktop media during the past year actually declined by 11 percent. Mobile now represents two of every three digital media minutes.
  • App Share of Digital — Smartphone apps all by themselves account for nearly half of all digital media time spent, and three of every four minutes while on mobile.
  • Hours and Hours — Millennials love their apps: the 18-24 age segment spends 93.5 hours a month (June 2016) on smartphone apps and ages 25-34 spends about 85.6 hours. Baby Boomers spend 55.6 hours and posted year-over-year growth of 37 percent!
  • App vs Web — We spend seven times more time in mobile apps than we do on mobile Web – that’s actually remained steady, even as our tablet use had dropped off
  • Peak App? — Roughly half of smartphone users download one or more apps per month and half don’t download apps at all. Six percent download eight or more apps a month. Those who download five or more per month are largely ages 18-44, male and Hispanic.
  • Organizing Apps — Sixty-one percent of age 18-34 users organize their apps into folders, while just 25 percent of age 55 and older users do, primarily because Millennials download more apps and don’t want to have more than four screens with apps on them.
  • Pushback or “Push notification fatigue” — More smartphone users are rejecting app update notifications. Thirty-eight percent never or rarely agree to such notifications (up 31 percent last year) while 27 percent often or always agree to them (down from 33 percent in 2015).
  • Loyalty at the Top — Most smartphone users use 27 apps per month, but nine of every 10 mobile app minutes are spent with a user’s top five apps. Try breaking into that group!
  • App Herding — Millennials concentrate more mobile app time within “Top 10” ranked apps in their cohort than older age groups do.
  • Thumbs Up — My absolute favorite: Baby boomers are six times more likely as Millennials to only operate their smartphone with two hands. Of one-handed smartphone users, Millennials are most likely to position apps on their phones within “thumb reach.”

This report raises a lot of questions about designing, reinvigorating and reimagining apps. Can a brand break through? As bullish this current app report from comScore is, Gartner is foretelling a decline in app dominance. Whichever future holds, I foresee lots of thumb surgeries and reading glasses.

Author: Chet Dalzell

Marketing Sustainably: A blog posting questions, opportunities, concerns and observations on sustainability in marketing. Chet Dalzell has 25 years of public relations management and expertise in service to leading brands in consumer, donor, patient and business-to-business markets, and in the field of integrated marketing. He serves on the ANA International ECHO Awards Board of Governors, as an adviser to the Direct Marketing Club of New York, and is senior director, communications and industry relations, with the Digital Advertising Alliance. Chet loves UConn Basketball (men's and women's) and Nebraska Football (that's just men, at this point), too! 

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